Former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage has blamed Germany for the alarming levels of air pollution in British cities.
Farage made the remarks on Wednesday, after the European Commission issued a “final warning” to the UK over reoccurring violations of legal pollution limits in some parts of the country.
“This has been rumbling on since 2010, and to be fair it is not just the UK that they are threatening,” the member of the European Parliament said on his LBC radio show, suggesting that the UK might need to pay up a hefty fine over air pollution coming from Germany.
“But we are facing the possibility of a £300 million fine because the air quality in our cities isn’t good enough,” he said. “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,” the MEP said, referring to the country’s pending withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
It was reported in January that pollution from industrial and urban areas of Germany and the near-Continent was being blown in to the UK.
The European Commission’s warning stated that nitrogen dioxide levels had been repeatedly exceeded in 16 areas, including London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow.
Germany, France, Spain and Italy were also given similar warnings. The Commission warned the countries that their cases could be referred to the European Court of Justice if they did not take adequate action in two months.
Nitrogen dioxide is produced mostly by factories and vehicles, particularly diesel engines.
That is why Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, called on the government in January to “urgently play their part” by funding a national diesel scrappage program.
According to the commission, every year, over 400,000 people die prematurely in the EU as a result of poor air quality, while millions more suffer respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.