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UK cities still likely to be above air quality limits in 2030

Last Update 06/04/2021

The UK government has admitted that the air quality in several of its cities is unlikely to meet EU standards by 2030.


The UK government has admitted that the air quality in several of its cities is unlikely to meet EU standards by 2030.

EU Member States were meant to have brought down the number of pollutants in the air by 2010. However, the UK still has levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that breach these targets and, as a result, has faced legal action.

In the latest court battle, the UK has admitted to the European Court of Justice that London, Leeds and Birmingham could still exceed NO2 levels in 2030.

NO2 is mainly produced by diesel cars and trucks, and is linked with a range of lung diseases. A study published in the European Respiratory Journal in February suggests that it has a similar effect on health as particulate matter 2.5, which the UK government has said causes 29,000 early deaths in Britain each year.

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Read the abstract from the journal article on NO2 and death rates

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