New caps on air pollutants 

Plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of key pollutants by 2030, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. These caps have already been informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU per year.

The new legislation sets out national emission reduction commitments for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), ammonia (NH3), and fine particulates (less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter). The main sources of these pollutants are transport, heating, industry and agriculture.

The proposed pollution cuts would reduce the health impacts of air pollution by around 50% by 2030.


In 2010 air pollution caused over 400,000 premature deaths in the EU and exposed over 62% of EU territory to eutrophication, including 71% of Natura 2000 ecosystems. Its total external costs are in the range of €330-940bn per year, including direct economic damage of €15bn from lost workdays, €4bn in healthcare costs, €3bn in crop yield loss and €1bn in damage to buildings (European Commission figures).

Non-compliance with existing air quality standards and the EU's new international obligations under the Gothenburg Protocol prevents better protection of EU citizens and their environment. Areas not in compliance with PM10 and NO2 standards amount to 32% and 24% of EU territory respectively, and 40m citizens are still exposed to PM10 levels above EU limit values.

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement


Debate/vote:  Wednesday, 23 November

#AirQuality #emissions #NOx