Air pollution curbs agreed

29th July 2015

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Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Air


Caroline Dolan

Tougher proposals to curb air pollution across Europe have been agreed by MEPs on the European parliament's environment committee.

Politicians voted for binding caps on emissions of particulate matter (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dioxide (NO2), volatile organic compounds and ammonia from 2025. The actual limits will be set when the directive is adopted and will commit countries to percentage reductions against a 2005 baseline.

A limit will also be set for methane, but member states will have five years longer to comply. Targets for ammonia and methane, which are largely produced from agriculture, were opposed by the farming lobby and some national governments, including the UK and France.

MEPs backed the proposals by 38 votes to 28, with two abstentions. The proposed caps are more stringent than in the European commission’s original proposal. Louise Duprez, senior policy officer for air quality at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said: “The environment committee has shown leadership in the fight against air pollution.” There will be a full vote in the European parliament in October.

Meanwhile, research has revealed that nearly half the health impacts of air pollution on Londoners come from emissions originating outside the capital, such as diesel fumes and industrial emissions. The study, commissioned by mayor Boris Johnson, for the first time quantifies the health and economic impacts of NO2. It found that long-term exposure was responsible for 5,900 deaths in London in 2010, the latest data available, while PM2.5 caused 3,500 deaths, a decline from the 4,300 recorded in 2006.

A consultation on measures for London boroughs to tackle air pollution hot spots and local emissions through the air quality management process was also published.


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