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UK government sent to Europe over air pollution

2 May 2013

We previously reported on a case deemed to be amongst the most important of this century so far. The judgment released yesterday declared that the Government is in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive.

The Supreme Court confirmed that because of the breach “the way is open to immediate action at national or European level”. This is an important decision. The decision opens the path for the European Commission to bring infringement action against the UK. More importantly it allays fears that the court might shy away from the enforcement of European directives relating to the environment leaving the only recourse at EU level. The Court of Appeal had decided that “this is a matter for enforcement at European level, rather than domestic level”.

The matter has been referred to the CJEU before a decision is made as to further action to enforce the law.

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