The UK Supreme Court has ordered the government to deliver plans to tackle air pollution by the end of the year, in a unanimous decision delivered Wednesday (29 April).

The Air Quality Directive set limits on the concentration of nitrogen dioxide from January 2010. Extensions of up to five years were granted following an application and the submission of an air quality plan to get pollution down to legal limits.

The UK applied for extensions in 24 zone, but didn’t in 16 others. Air quality plans were submitted, but in some cases these would not have resulted in compliance until after 2030.

The government previously argued that the drawing up of an air quality plan was enough to meet its obligations under the Clean Air Directive. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled against the government in November 2014. The directive required enforcement by domestic courts.

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