Supreme Court pollution ruling will mean major crackdown on diesel vehicles

London basks in bad air pollution Credit: PA Wire

The government will have to clamp down fast on haulage fleets and older buses in order to comply with European air pollution standards, experts have said.

Environmental group ClientEarth won a major victory at the Supreme Court today, after five years of legal battles, which legally obliges the UK to act quickly to comply with EU legislation on NO2 in the air. And now diesel-powered cars, trucks and buses could have had their day.

A spokesman for the group said: "We think the government will need to get rid of the dirtiest diesel vehicles - perhaps with a network of ultra-low emission areas across the UK."

The main culprits are not private cars, but older buses and diesel-powered trucks, which are largely responsible for the UK's polluted cities.

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation said air pollution costs the UK £54bn a year in diseases and death, while ClientEarth contends that it kills 29,000 people prematurely every year in this country

The spokesman added: "It’s crucial that the government provides clean transport alternatives for people travelling to our city centres.”