UK: They must clean up our dirty air

7 September 2020 — Good Law Project

Air pollution means that not only are you more likely to contract coronavirus, but you are also more likely to die if you do. That is what multiple scientific studies from around the world say. Yet so far, the Government has refused to clean up our air.

When the risk to human life is this great, we cannot afford to wait for the science to be proven beyond all doubt. The Government must act now to urgently review its air pollution strategy. We believe that they have an obligation to do so, and we have launched legal action to hold them to it.

A legal challenge of this kind is undeniably difficult and expensive. If you are in a position to do so, you can make a donation to the case below.

Good Law Project is working with a number of campaign groups to bring this legal challenge: Mums for Lungs, Student Action for Global Health, and the UK Youth Climate Coalition. All of us share the same concern about the risk air pollution poses – and the belief that the Government must act.

Our legal challenge rests first on the precautionary principle. The law says that when scientific evidence about an environmental or human health hazard is uncertain and the stakes are high, precautionary measures must be taken. We say that the risk to life posed by air pollution during the pandemic means that the Government must act even if the scientific evidence is not yet conclusive.

If we win – and the outcome of litigation is never certain – and establish the existence of the precautionary principle in UK law, it could change the way that the Courts view the climate emergency forever. The case could have profound impacts – in the UK and elsewhere.

Thank you,

Jolyon Maugham QC
Director of Good Law Project

Good Law Project is able to carry out its work thanks to donations from thousands of people. If you are in a position to do so, you can make a donation here:


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