Nigel Farage blames Germany for air pollution in UK cities

Ukip leader's bizarre claim follows 'final warning' by European Commission

Tom Batchelor
Wednesday 15 February 2017 21:06 GMT
Farage blames UK pollution levels on Germany

Nigel Farage has blamed Germany for creating the air pollution that is blighting British cities.

The accusation comes after the European Commission sent a "final warning" to the UK for repeated breaches of legal limits in parts of the country.

The warning was issued for persistent breaches of levels of nitrogen dioxide, which comes from sources including traffic, particularly diesel engines, in 16 areas including London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow.

But the former Ukip leader said it was winds blowing in from continental Europe that were dumping the pollutants on conurbations in the UK, rather than locally-produced toxic gases.

He suggested the UK Government should refuse to pay an impending fine that he claimed could reach £300 million.

Smog descends on London during a bout of poor air quality
Smog descends on London during a bout of poor air quality (Getty)

The Eurosceptic MEP told listeners of his LBC radio show: “This has been rumbling on since 2010, and to be fair it is not just the UK that they are threatening.

“But we are facing the possibility of a £300 million fine because the air quality in our cities isn’t good enough.

“Funny isn’t it, we get a south-easterly wind and all the pollution from Germany comes to British cities and were told it’s our fault.

“I suggest we leave quickly and we don’t pay the £300 million fine.”

His comments appear to relate to reports in January that a cloud of pollution had blown in from Germany.

But Mr Farage failed to mention the effect of locally-produced nitrogen dioxide, much of which is created by diesel vehicles, which combined with the cloud to create a toxic smog blanket.

His comments also fail to reflect that the prevailing winds in the UK come from the west or south-west.

Four other countries received the warning for unacceptable levels of pollution.

Each of them faces action in the European Court of Justice if they continue to breach levels of noxious gases.

The Government has admitted it could be 2020 before air quality levels are within the rules for some areas and 2025 for London, where annual limits were broken on one road just five days into 2017.

Jenny Bates, Friends Of The Earth air pollution campaigner, said: "Air pollution is responsible for tens of thousands of early deaths every year and is harming the health of an entire generation of children.

"Current government plans have been shown to be too little too late."

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