EU reaches agreement on stricter air pollution limits

EU reaches agreement on stricter air pollution limits
Published: 20 September 2016


The European Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a directive to reduce emissions of air pollutants on 30 June 2016.

The new National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD) sets stricter national limits on the emissions of several hazardous pollutants, including SO2, NOx and fine particulates and aims to cut the number of premature deaths from air pollution by around half across member states. The time horizon is from 2020 to 2029 and from 2030 onwards.

The legislation will put a legal limit of 49.6 per cent health improvement, following a compromise reached between the Parliament (52 per cent) and Council's proposed (49 per cent) targets. The new deal has the potential to reduce health impact by about 50 per cent in 2030 (compared to 2005), according to a news release by Cembureau, the European cement association.

Indicative emission levels for 2025 will be identified for each member state and will be determined by a linear trajectory towards the emissions limits that will apply from 2030. However, member states will be able to follow a non-linear trajectory if this would be more efficient and under certain circumstances, the new limits would be subject to some flexibility.

The EU Parliament is expected to vote on the provisional agreement in Plenary in October or November.