EU policy on air quality: Implementation of selected EU legislation

18-01-2021

Air pollution is a cross-border problem with direct negative effects on health and the environment. It also has indirect but tangible adverse effects on economies and societies. With the aim of securing good air quality status for its citizens and the environment, the EU has established a policy framework that employs legal regulation as the main policy instrument. This European implementation assessment (EIA) presents findings on the implementation of three major pieces of EU legislation on air quality, namely the two Ambient Air Quality Directives and the Industrial Emissions Directive, and makes recommendations for policy action. In addition, the research paper annexed to this EIA maps and assesses the local policies designed and implemented by 10 EU agglomerations with the aim of tackling air pollution from relevant sources, and, in particular, from road transport. It also makes recommendations for policy action, some of which are relevant to any other EU zone/agglomeration affected by air pollution exceedances, irrespective of specific local conditions. Furthermore, the research paper studies the effects of the first wave of pandemic lock-down measures implemented in the same 10 EU agglomerations and their effects on concentrations of certain air pollutants (particularly harmful for health), and, on this basis, outlines lessons that could be applied in future policy-making on air quality at all levels of governance.

Air pollution is a cross-border problem with direct negative effects on health and the environment. It also has indirect but tangible adverse effects on economies and societies. With the aim of securing good air quality status for its citizens and the environment, the EU has established a policy framework that employs legal regulation as the main policy instrument. This European implementation assessment (EIA) presents findings on the implementation of three major pieces of EU legislation on air quality, namely the two Ambient Air Quality Directives and the Industrial Emissions Directive, and makes recommendations for policy action. In addition, the research paper annexed to this EIA maps and assesses the local policies designed and implemented by 10 EU agglomerations with the aim of tackling air pollution from relevant sources, and, in particular, from road transport. It also makes recommendations for policy action, some of which are relevant to any other EU zone/agglomeration affected by air pollution exceedances, irrespective of specific local conditions. Furthermore, the research paper studies the effects of the first wave of pandemic lock-down measures implemented in the same 10 EU agglomerations and their effects on concentrations of certain air pollutants (particularly harmful for health), and, on this basis, outlines lessons that could be applied in future policy-making on air quality at all levels of governance.