Clientearth, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Admn 13 Dec 2011

The claimant sought declaratory and mandatory orders in respect of the Government’s failure to comply with emission limits set by Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 21 May 2008. Article 13 of that Directive required Member States not to exceed limit values of nitrogen dioxide set for 1 January 2010.
Held: Relief was refused: ‘Article 22(1) gives to Member States a discretion to apply to postpone the deadline by a maximum of five years. The use of the word ‘may’ in the English test and ‘peut’ in the French text is unequivocal. It confers a discretion. If a State would otherwise be in breach of its obligations under Article 13 and wishes to postpone the time for compliance with that obligation, then the machinery provided by Article 22(1) is available to it, but it is not obliged to use that machinery. It can, as the United Kingdom Government has done, simply admit its breach and leave it to the Commission to take whatever action the Commission thinks right by way of enforcement under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.’
As to the grant of a mandatory order: ‘such a mandatory order, like the imposition of an obligation on the Government to submit a plan under Article 22 to bring the United Kingdom within limit values by 1 January 2015, would raise serious political and economic questions which are not for this court. It is clear from all I have seen that any practical requirement on the United Kingdom to achieve limit values in its major agglomerations, in particular in London, would impose upon taxpayers and individuals a heavy burden of expenditure which would require difficult political choices to be made. It would be likely to have a significant economic impact. The courts have traditionally been wary of entering this area of political debate for good reason.’
Mitting J
[2011] EWHC 3623 (Admin)
Directive 2008/50/EC 813
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromClientearth, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CA 30-May-2012
The claimant appealed against refusal of its request for declaratory relief, the respondent having admitted failing to implement the Directive on the control of nitrogen dioxide.
Held: The appeal failed. The judge had been correct that the . .
At First instanceClientearth, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs SC 1-May-2013
The court gave its reasons for referring to the ECJ, the question asked of it, as to the failure of the respondent to ensure compliance with the EU Directive on Nitrogen dioxide control, and the consequential orders. However, a declaration was . .
At First InstanceClientearth, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs SC 29-Apr-2015
The applicant had challenged the failure by the governement to secure appropriate air quality standards. The question had earlier been referred to the ECJ, and the Court now considered the appropriate orders following the ECJ judgment.
Held: . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 April 2021; Ref: scu.462994