In September 2005, the Commission presented a strategy to reduce air pollution in Europe targetting five main pollutants. The key new elements of the strategy is to extend clean air laws into new sectors - including agriculture and transport - that were not covered before. The strategy is expected to cost the 25-nation bloc some �7.1 billion every year, down from the �12 billion initially proposed by Environment Commissioner Dimas. But the health benefits alone will be fivefold, he said.

A revision of the National Emissions Ceilings Directive is to be submitted to bring it in line with new objectives of the strategy Before end 2005: Commission to table 'Euro 5' proposal to cut pollution from all new cars and vans.

2006: Parliament and Council to examine Ambient Air Quality directive

2006: Commission expected to table air quality law applicable to trucks and buses (called 'Euro 6') 2010: 'Euro 5' standards expected to come into force

2020: Target date for attaining the overall strategy's objectives

The 'Thematic Strategy on air pollution', was due for adoption by the College of Commissioners in July but was postponed due to pressure from commissioners who argued that Europe's economic woes need to be tackled ahead of environmental concerns. Following a July orientation debate in the College of Commissioners, Dimas was given permission to present his air pollution and other environmental strategies before the end of 2005. There are seven 'thematic strategies' due to be adopted under the Commission's 6th environmental action programme of 2002