EU air pollution policy

       Photo: Anton Vavilov/CC BY_NC-ND

Currently, more than 400,000 premature deaths are attributable to air pollution in the 28 EU member states each year. The current emission abatement policies are not enough to tackle the problem. Even with full implementation of the current emission abatement policies, air pollutant concentrations are still projected to be a major problem. By 2030, current policies would lead to a 54% reduction in premature deaths attributable to air pollution each year, while the reduction in the impacts on ecosystems is expected to be smaller. There is clearly still a strong need to substantially reduce the impacts on human health and ecosystems through further policy action to reduce emissions, especially from agriculture, transport, and domestic heating. The continuing contribution of these sectors to poor air quality emphasises the need for systemic changes in the food, mobility, and energy systems. And because air pollution does not respect national borders it is also vital to promote collaboration and coordinated international action.


Figure. Trends in the main air pollutants and in the gross domestic product in the EU-28. Source: State of environment report 2020, EEA 2020

Important parts of EU air pollution legislation:
EU Ambient Air Quality Directives
National Emission Ceilings
Industrial Emissions Directive
Legislation on vehicles and fuels