ClientEarth’s High Court victory over the Government’s failure to tackle illegal air pollution in the UK means the time has come to “stop dithering” and rebalance roads investment towards cycling and walking, says Cycling UK.
After an earlier victory in the Supreme Court in 2015, in which ministers were ordered to devise a plan to bring air pollution down within legal limits as soon as possible, ClientEarth, a group of activist lawyers, took the government back to High Court in a Judicial Review this November, deeming their plans “poor”.
Presiding judge, Mr Justice Garnham, ruled yesterday the government’s 2015 Air Quality Plan failed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling or relevant EU directives.
The UK government will spend £15bn on its Roads Investment Strategy over five years between 2015-2020, and just £300m until 2021 on cycling and walking, despite road traffic being one of the largest contributors to air pollution. Cycling UK says funds need to be reallocated to non-polluting forms of transport, including walking and cycling.
“Cycling UK hopes ClientEarth’s victory will act as a wake-up call to Government that it needs to stop dithering on dirty air, and address its root causes, such as motor traffic,” said Policy Director, Roger Geffen MBE.
“Government should rebalance its spending on roads towards its long awaited Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, which will fulfil its ambition to normalise cycling for shorter day to day journeys.”
After 2021 spending on cycling and walking will decline to just 72p per person per year, a fraction of the recommended minimum £10 per person per head rising to £20 defined by the 2013 Get Britain Cycling report.