Europe threatens to sue UK over sulphur dioxide levels

4th September 2007
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The Government is facing legal action from the European Commission over levels of sulphur dioxide pollution in East England, the Campaign for Clean Air in London has revealed.

The emissions, thought to come from a brick works in Bedford, could affect 4000 people living with a 5 km radius of the plant, said Simon Birkett from the Campaign. The levels have breached two EC legal limits.

The Campaign for Clean Air in London discovered through a Freedom of Information request that the government has already received a 'Letter of Formal Notice' from the EC, has missed its deadline to reply, and now stands to receive a 'Reasoned Opinion', or final warning.

Sulphur dioxide is a known contributor to respiratory illnesses, particularly in those suffering from asthma.

Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Ludford, said: 'It is pretty shameful that the EU has had to launch action against the UK for breaching sulphur dioxide emissions limits in Eastern England.'

She added: 'Hopefully, this formal action will act as a wake-up call for the Government, but we all need to support the Clean Air campaign to strengthen its hand against inaction.'

The Campaign for Clean Air in London is also calling on the EC to launch simultaneous action against the UK Government for its lax enforcement of regulations on particulate matter (PM10), which is a key constitute of diesel exhaust and a carcinogen.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007