Landmark Chambers

Home > Resources > Environmental Law Blog

Environmental Law Blog

Implications of Brexit for air quality legislation

In my post on Monday 23 January, Please drive smoothly – the answer to increased air pollution, I referred to the progress of the AQ Plan following the Judgment in the ClientEarth case in the High Court in November of last year. 

The MP for Strangford, Jim Shannon, posed the following Parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

What plans she has to maintain the UK's air quality targets after the UK leaves the EU?”

Readers might like to note that in the answer, provided on behalf of the Secretary of State, it was stated:

The Prime Minister announced last year our plans for a Repeal Bill that will convert current EU law into domestic British law. Our intention is to ensure a smooth and orderly transition via the Repeal Bill and to provide as much certainty as possible by maintaining the existing laws.

The Government will set out further actions to improve air quality next year including consulting on a revised National Air Quality Plan for nitrogen dioxide by 24 April. The final plan will be in place by the end of July.

We will also publish the UK Government’s air pollution action plan, which will include all pollutants and implement the requirements of the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, no later than March 2019.

Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades; we are working at local, national and international levels and will continue to do more. As we prepare to negotiate our exit from the European Union, the Government will continue to ensure that the right policies are in place for a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. Air quality targets are set in law and our strong commitment to environmental issues will continue after the UK leaves the EU.

This confirms the importance of the deadlines set down by the High Court April and July 2017). It is also clear that it will be some time before the Government’s air pollution action plan is published.