Ministers have failed in their attempt to delay publication of their new draft air quality plan until after the General Election.
At a High Court hearing on Thursday, Mr Justice Garnham ordered the Government to publish the plan on 9th May, after the local elections on 4 May.
The final plan must still be published by 31 July.
The judge had called the hearing to consider the Government’s request to be allowed to delay publishing the plan, which was due on Monday of this week, until 30 June, on the grounds that ‘purdah’ rules prevented it from doing so during an election campaign.
James Thornton, CEO of campaign group ClientEarth, which successfully challenged the Government’s original plan last year, said: ‘We are delighted with the ruling. We cannot afford more dither and delay from the Government. Rather than appeal this decision, they need to get on and produce their plans to bring down air pollution as soon as possible.’
He added: ‘The judge agreed with us that this is a matter of public health, not politics.’
Mr Justice Garnham refused ministers permission to appeal, although they can still approach the Court of Appeal directly.