Pollution

Air pollution, being the largest cause of premature death in urban Europe, is bringing massive concern to not only European Commission professionals but also for EU citizens. Transport has continuously been the main source of this air pollution, and it is high on the agenda for environmental reforms. In 2013, 68,000 premature deaths were caused by nitrogen dioxide, which was mostly produced by traffic. In the same year, small particulate matter killed 436,000 people. Burning fossil fuels causes this matter; which then enter the bloodstream and lungs.

Air pollution, being the largest cause of premature death in urban Europe, is bringing massive concern to not only European Commission professionals but also for EU citizens. Transport has continuously been the main source of this air pollution, and it is high on the agenda for environmental reforms. In 2013, 68,000 premature deaths were caused by nitrogen dioxide, which was mostly produced by traffic. In the same year, small particulate matter killed 436,000 people. Burning fossil fuels causes this matter; which then enter the bloodstream and lungs.

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the ex-post evaluation of Regulation (EC) No. 166 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). The E-PRTR website provides environmental data from industrial facilities. Its aim is to contribute to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making and provides information used for policy assessment and development.

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the ex-post evaluation of Regulation (EC) No. 166 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).

Operators of medium combustion plants should be given more lenient air pollution caps and extended compliance deadlines, an MEP leading work on a new pollution law has proposed.

Medium combustion plants should be divided into three categories according to their thermal input with less stringent air pollution limit values applied to smaller installations, according to EPP group MEP Andrzej Grzyb.

Fewer new measures will be needed to meet the EU’s 2030 air pollution targets than expected when the EU’s clean air package was proposed in 2013, new figures for the European Commission indicate.

There is greater potential to reduce PM2.5 emissions in particular, which also makes it easier to reduce emissions of other air pollutants, consultancy IIASA said.

As the UK has not managed to cut its excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas which can cause respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, the European Commission has launched legal action. Under the Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air in Europe the original deadline for Member States to comply with limit values for nitrogen dioxide was 1 January 2010.

In a follow-up to Green Week 2013, the Commission launched shortly before Christmas 2013 a new policy package aimed at protecting air quality in Europe. It includes:

 A report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) gives an overview and analysis of air quality in Europe from 2002 to 2011. It reviews progress towards meeting the requirements of the air quality directives and gives an overview of policies and measures introduced at the European level to improve air quality and minimise impacts. It also details the latest findings and estimates of the effects of air pollution on health and its impacts on ecosystems.

New rules to make the outboard engines used in sports and leisure watercraft safer and cut their pollutant exhaust emissions by 20% got the thumbs up from the European Parliament during plenary in Strasbourg. Parliament backed a European Commission proposal to impose tougher exhaust emission limits on watercraft, to reduce nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions. Small firms making small engines will have six years to comply, compared with three years for larger ones. Parliament also scrapped potentially misleading names of boat design categories.

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