Rochford District Council along with another 37 local authorities in England & Wales, have come under fire once again from environmental experts and lawyers at Client Earth, over its failure to act over illegal levels on air pollution in our district.
The environmental law organisation, which won three legal cases against the UK government over illegal levels of air pollution across the country, is concerned by the slew of missed deadlines and ineffective measures put forward by local authorities.
Client earth has written to Rochford District Council about is failure to act in a timely fashion and in true Tory style things don’t really seem to be moving. There doesn’t appear to be any sense or urgency in tackling the problem and so far all we’ve really seen is a couple of electric vehicle charging points for taxis (of which there are none operating in Rayleigh!), which are yet to be installed. It’s not like funding should really be a problem with the ‘nest egg’ of £9m in reserves. Last year we concluded our air quality survey which highlighted areas that were near to, or exceeded air pollution limits but the Council still fails to acknowledge there is a problem in these areas, instead they simply dismissed our findings.
However, we’ve heard from residents themselves, about the health implications they’ve faced, it would appear Tory policy these days is to ‘kick the can down the road’.
“It is now almost a decade since legal limits came into place and they are still being broken in large parts of the country. Every week that goes by without action is another week where people are breathing in harmful air pollution which damages their health. This is particularly true of vulnerable groups like children.
If you are looking for a local Tory Councillor in the District you’ll probably find them with their head firmly in the sand!
“Aside from the legal situation, this is a moral failure from politicians at all levels. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the central government to sort this out but local authorities should not be using government inaction as an excuse not to do all they can to protect people from breathing dirty air.”
ClientEarth has also sent the councils a briefing, which outlines councils’ responsibilities and warns that if their final proposals do not satisfy the necessary legal requirements, they will be open to legal challenge.
For the full press release please visit the client earth website here