High levels of air pollution

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FIGURES show the government has failed to bring down the number of regions across the UK with illegal levels of air pollution, despite being ordered to by the courts.

At the end of 2016 the UK had the same number of zones with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide as in 2015, despite being under a Supreme Court order to bring pollution down as soon as possible, environmental law firm ClientEarth said.

While some parts of the country, including London, have seen annual levels of nitrogen dioxide fall in the past few years, other areas, including Portsmouth, have seen air pollution rise slightly since 2013.

A Defra spokeswoman said: ‘We have put in place a £3bn plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions.’