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UK Faces Legal Action after Massaging Air Quality Data to Avoid Fines

The European Commission may well open a new case against the UK after allegations were made by several green groups that air quality data for the city of London in 2011 was ‘massaged’ in order to comply with pollution targets and avoid hefty fines.

The groups alleged that London officials had used ‘dust-suppressant technology to remove pollutants from the air and ‘glue’ the airborne particles to the road. In of itself this is not illegal; the technology is a viable method for reducing air pollution. The problem is that the Campaign for Clean Air in London and the Green Party have both made allegations of cheating, claiming that the technology was only used near to the official air quality monitoring stations.

The EC has given the UK until September to submit official air quality figures for 2012, after which the decision will be made whether or not to take legal action against for the 2011 data.

Related article: The Time has Arrived for China to Take Responsibility for the Environment

A spokesman for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that, “air quality in London has improved significantly in recent decades and is now generally very good, and almost all of the UK meets EU air quality limits for all pollutants. We met the Commission's requirements on PM10 in 2011 and infraction proceedings have been closed.”

Business Green discovered that the EC is also preparing to sue the UK for a breach of the Air Quality Directive over nitrogen pollution, when its air quality plans failed to detail a method for sufficiently reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide in many parts of the country.

The EU has already successfully sued Spain after they moved the official monitoring stations in Madrid into parks where the air quality was naturally better.

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com



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