The ECJ’s air pollution ruling against Britain is hard to swallow

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the UK ‘systematically and persistently’ breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions in 16 areas including London, Manchester and Glasgow between 2010 and 2017. It’s a judgement that means, despite Brexit, that a multi-million euro fine may be on its way. The UK is leaving the ECJ behind us; but as part of the withdrawal deal, we have agreed to respect its rulings on cases already in progress – and this one started in 2018. I’d be wholly in favour of the UK being fined gazillions for our historically appalling emissions – with one important caveat, which I’ll come to. After