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Parliamentary questions
1 July 2010
Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission

The directive 2008/50/EC(1) on ambient air quality and Directive 2004/107/EC(2) set environmental objectives for a number of regulated pollutants(3), including the sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxide referred to in the question. The other referred chemical compounds: hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen chloride and phosgene are not covered by the EU ambient air quality legislation.

1. The Commission is not aware that the Bulgarian authorities would be withholding from the public environmental information regarding air pollution in the area of Stara Zagora. The information regarding the concentration of pollutants regulated by the EU legislation is made available, and as demonstrated by the question, including the measured concentrations of some additional chemical compounds. Identification of sources is specifically required under Article 23 of Directive 2008/50/EC as part of the development of an air quality plan, but only for the regulated pollutants addressed by that air quality plan.

2. The ambient air quality in the zone South-East (BG0006) in which the area around Stara Zagora is situated, continues to exceed limit values related to the sulphur dioxide and particulate matter. The Commission issued in March 2010 a final written warning regarding the continuous exceedances of sulphur dioxide in the zone. Regarding particulate matter PM10, the Commission has, after the assessment of the notification of a time extension to meet the PM10 limit values according to Article 22 of Directive 2008/50/EC, objected to the Bulgarian request. The Commission is investigating whether further steps to enforce the respect of these environmental standards in the area are needed.

If the Zmayevo military field test is identified as the significant contributor to the pollution of the regulated pollutants, the Commission would expect that the abatement measures would be addressing its emissions as well. It is however up to the Member State to decide which measures to take to ensure compliance with the EU legislation.

(1)OJ L 152, 11.6.2008.
(2)Directive 2004/107/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air, OJ L 23, 26.1.2005.

OJ C 138 E, 07/05/2011
Last updated: 29 July 2010Legal notice