Call for the EU to enforce air quality legislation

More than 200 European citizens’ organisations from across the EU request that immediate action be taken against those member states that are in breach of the EU’s ambient air quality legislation.

Member states can ask for a time extension to comply with the limits for some pollutants, under certain conditions. The groups conclude that they are pleased with the decisions adopted so far by the Commission, which are said to reflect a thorough technical assessment of member states’ notifications and a strict application of the conditions required for obtaining an extension. They therefore encourage the Commission to continue working in this direction, in particular with regards to notifications for a postponement to comply with the NO2 limit value.

Derogations must be limited to exceptional situations and only to those member states that can demonstrate they have taken all possible measures to comply with the limits, including evidence that ambitious actions aimed at reducing traffic-related emissions in cities have been adopted.

Exceedance of the air quality limit values results in more costs for society and diminishes the quality of the life and health of EU citizens. According to the groups, there is no excuse for member states to fail to comply with the air quality standards, especially as the health of their citizens is at stake, and as the limits in question were negotiated and endorsed by member states themselves more than ten years ago.

One of the most effective ways to put an end to the breaching of the standards is by enforcing the EU air quality laws, and Environment Commissioner Potocnik is therefore requested by the organisations to make sure that those member states that are in breach of the directive are sent to the European Court of Justice without delay.

Source: Letter from environmental NGOs to the European Commission, 23 April 2012 Link:

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