The High Court has dismissed an application for extension of the time to comply with an Order for publication of a draft compliant Air Quality Plan by the UK.
Following on from two sets of proceedings brought by ClientEarth, an environmental NGO – one which led to the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Supreme Court and the other which led to a judgment of the High Court in November 2016 – the Secretary of State for the Environment had been ordered to produce of a modified Air Quality Plan, compatible with the UK’s obligation to reduce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentrations across the country.
A draft Plan was ordered by no later than 4 p.m. on 24 April 2017. Shortly before that date, the Secretary of State applied for an extension of time in light of purdah restrictions and sensitivities relating to local government elections on 4 May 2017 and the general election called for 8 June 2017.
The Court rejected the Government’s arguments and ordered that a draft modified Plan must be produced by 4 p.m. on 9 May 2017. The Government has since confirmed that it will not appeal the judgment and plans to publish the plan after the end of local election purdah.
The judgment can be found here.
James Eadie QC acted for the Secretary of State.
Ravi Mehta acted for Client Earth (led by Nathalie Lieven QC).