LONDON, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The British government published a draft plan on Friday to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels across Britain.
Prime Minister Theresa May's government had wanted to delay the publication of its consultation document until after the upcoming June 8 general election, but a judge told the government it could not delay the release of the document.
ClientEarth, the campaign group that took the government to court over the issue, and London mayor Sadiq Khan have criticized the contents of the government plan.
Nationwide consultations, designed to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles and accelerate the move to cleaner transport, will now begin in towns and cities.
Under the air pollution proposals, drivers of older cars may be paid to move to electric vehicles. The plan also considers retrofitting buses, trucks, and black cabs, while clean air zones could be set up in cities and towns across Britain.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: "In line with the timetable directed by the courts, the government is seeking views on the proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by July 3."
Final decisions will be made by the incoming government, he said.
Reacting to the government's air quality plans, ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: "On the face of it, it looks much weaker than we had hoped for."
"The government says that pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health, we will still be faced with illegal air quality for years to come under these proposals."
Khan, London's Labor mayor, was also critical of the plan.
"This is a weak plan that lacks any sense of urgency. That means thousands of people will continue to die prematurely and unnecessarily, and many more children having to live with long-term health problems," he said.