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This chapter examines legal regimes relating to air quality, considering developments at the international, EU, UK and local levels. International and EU law is particularly important in this regulatory sphere since air pollution is a transboundary issue. There is also increasing public concern about air quality, which is reflected in high profile public interest litigation being brought against the UK government to ensure lawful levels of air quality are being met, or at least properly planned for. There are also implementation and coordination problems that make compliance with air quality law a considerable challenge. Regulating air quality ultimately requires coordinating the actions and efforts of actors in many industries, sectors, and geographical areas. At present, not all of those actors are within the scope of UK air quality law.


Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole W. Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes

This chapter deals with legal controls to address global climate change, ozone depletion, and air quality, the complexity of which problems means that many different types of approaches are necessary across a wide range of activities. This can be a little daunting at first because many issues overlap. In each of these areas, there are laws at international, European, and national levels that need to be considered. It makes sense, however, to first consider some general issues and also the international response to various forms of air and atmospheric pollution. The range of problems affecting the atmosphere stretches across the full range of human activities, from highly toxic fumes emitted from a complicated industrial process, to such seemingly mundane activities as lighting a fire, driving a car, or using spray-on deodorant. Air pollutants come in many forms, and the main ones will be discussed in the chapter.