The UK Government has lost a court bid to delay publication of its air pollution strategy, and must now release it before the June election.
Mr Justice Garnham, ruling against the government, also told ministers to stick to his original deadline of 31 July to publish the final policy on tackling the air quality crisis - the same date specified in his original order in November 2016.
"I hope that after this appalling delay, this Government delivers a strong plan to finally get a grip on this issue and urgently introduces a diesel scrappage fund to rid our streets of the dirtiest cars, and provide financial incentives to encourage people to buy the cleanest vehicles", he said.
Seven years ago, Britain was told it was in breach of the legal limits of toxic gases such as nitrogen dioxide. "We're glad the court agrees that this decision is far too important to delay", said Gareth Redmond-King, head of energy and climate at WWF.
In the West Midlands 1,500 people a year die early as a result of exposure to pollution according to Public Health England - with levels in Birmingham City Centre especially high.
He said that Sue Gray, the Director General of the Cabinet Office's Ethics team had raised "serious concerns about the appropriateness of publishing this in the sensitive period" given the impending general and local elections'.
"The controversy is there and it is not going to be put on hold by not publishing this consultation document".
It argued that while the rule of purdah could be applied to the local elections, it was not in this case relevant to the General Election.
Representing the government, Mr Eadie QC said the application had been brought with considerable reluctance and was not "some sort of guise or demonstration of lack of commitment to improving air quality".
And Jenny Bates, a Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said "protecting the nation's health has rightly been placed above political process", saying that "every delay in action costs lives".
The government could still appeal the ruling in the following weeks.
He added that the government's approach had been "far too leisurely" because ministers were in breach of the European Union air quality directive and the air quality crisis was a "matter of great urgency".
The judge agreed, asking the government could not offer a guarantee that delaying publication of the report would not impact how quickly air pollution reduction measures could be implemented.
"Toxic air left unchecked will lead to a rising tide of ill health for everyone, particularly those who are most vulnerable".
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, accused Government ministers of having "deliberately used the election as a smokescreen to hold back their plan", instead of taking immediate action to protect the health of the public.