The environmental lawyers groupÂ ClientEarth has accused the UK government of â€œtorpedoingâ€ talks on the National Emission Ceiling Directive, which is currently being negotiated by European ministers and MEPs.
The Directive is aimed at reducing certain pollutants across EU member states by 2025. The legislation aims to set reduction targets for each EU member state to tackle pollutants including ammonia and particulate matter (PM2.5).
Talks on changes to the Directive have so far failed to reach an agreement, following discussion amongst ministers from EU nations this week. The next opportunity to reach an agreement could be on 20 June when environment ministers meet again in Brussels.
AirQualityNews understands Â EU ministers will continue to negotiate for a possible 48 per cent total emissions reduction target for each member state by 2025.
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: â€œThis is a betrayal of the millions of people across Britain and the rest of Europe, who are forced to breathe deadly air pollution.
â€œThere was a deal on the table, which would have halved the number of people killed by air pollution, but national governments, including the UK, chose to scupper it by refusing to move an inch from their position.â€
ClientEarth says countries including the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Poland are responsible for no agreement being reached.
A spokesman for Labourâ€™s environment spokesman Seb Dance MEP, who has campaigned for improvements in air quality, said: â€œThe talks are at an impasse. There is a problem with the 2025 target and the EU council is refusing to budge on the 48% emissions target.â€
An EU Commission spokeswoman confirmed the talks have hit a sticking point.
She said: â€œThe Commission takes note that Wednesday (8 June) trilogue on the National Emission Ceiling Directive did not reach an agreement.
â€œWe trust that the co-legislators will come to an agreement as soon as possible.â€