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Missing air quality targets by 20 years

Posted on 11th July 2014

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This BBC story really makes me despair.

EU states made a commitment to meet targets on pollutants from diesel cars and trucks (including, importantly, NO2) by the year 2010. Such pollution causes tens of thousands of deaths each year in Britain.

Client Earth, air quality activists, are taking the UK government to court over their failure to meet the committed targets.

Now, however, it looks like the UK will be lucky to meet these targets by 2030, and quite possibly not even by then. So, not much of a commitment, is it?

The bizarre thing is that, up to now, the UK government had been saying that all parts of the UK would be in compliance by 2025. That is already 15 years after the committed date, but they seem to think that is good enough. Well, I don't think that 2025 is good enough, and 2030 is even worse.

This kind of side-stepping of commitments seems to be a growing trend with governments around the world, and not just with promises about the environment (carbon emissions, energy efficiency, fishing quotas, wild-life reserves, etc.) but also on other topics (peace treaties, stamping out trade in conflict diamonds, spying, budget deficits, health care, infrastructure and returning antiquities to their country of origin).

I guess that none of us can claim to be surprised to discover that politicians cannot be trusted to keep their word, but at some point we need to push back against the lies and bullshit.