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Commission announces new policy package to clean up Europe's air

In response to the damaging effects of poor air quality on human health, the Commission has published new measures to reduce air pollution.

The clean air policy package updates existing legislation and aims to further reduce harmful emissions from industry, traffic, energy plants and agriculture, with a view to reducing their impact on human health and the environment.

Air pollution causes also lost working days, and high healthcare costs, with vulnerable groups such as children, asthmatics and the elderly the worst affected. It also damages ecosystems through excess nitrogen pollution (eutrophication) and acid rain. The Commission estimates the direct costs to society from air pollution, including damage to crops and buildings, to be €23 billion per year. It claims the benefits to people's health from implementing the new package are around €40 billion a year.

The package adopted has a number of components. They include:

  • A new Clean Air Programme for Europe with measures to ensure that existing targets are met in the short term, and new air quality objectives for the period up to 2030. The package also includes support measures to help cut air pollution, with a focus on improving air quality in cities, supporting research and innovation, and promoting international cooperation
  • A revised National Emission Ceilings Directive with stricter national emission ceilings for the six main pollutants
  • A proposal for a new Directive to reduce pollution from medium-sized combustion installations, such as energy plants for street blocks or large buildings, and small industry installations.

The proposal is based on the conclusions of a comprehensive review of existing EU air policy and comes after extensive consultations, including a significant focus on the topic at Green Week 2013 where ENEP was joined by EFCA, that found broad support for EU-wide action in this area.

Read the press release in full HERE. More information -

Draft proposal, EEA air quality reports, video

Issue 30