Diesel vehicles face charges after UK government loses air pollution case

Ministers now bound to implement new measures to cut toxic air quickly after high court ruling that current plans are so poor they are illegal.

Drivers of polluting diesel vehicles could soon be charged to enter many city centres across Britain, after the government accepted in the high court on Wednesday that its current plans to tackle the nation’s air pollution crisis were so poor they broke the law.

The humiliating legal defeat is the second in 18 months and ends years of inadequate action and delays to tackle the problem which causes 50,000 early deaths every year.

Ministers are now bound to implement new measures to cut toxic air quickly and the prime minister, Theresa May, indicated the government would this time respond positively: “There is more to do and we will do it.”