EU Commissioner welcomes ‘landmark’ air quality Directive

EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella has welcomed the passage of the National Emissions Ceiling Directive as a ‘significant landmark’ in efforts to tackle air quality.

Karmenu Vella (© European Union , 2016. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: François Walschaerts)

Karmenu Vella (© European Union, 2016. Source: EC,  Audiovisual Service. Photo: François Walschaerts)

The NEC Directive, which was voted in by the European Council earlier this week and sets stricter limits for key pollutants in Europe (see AirQualityNews.com story), will enter into force on 31 December 2016.

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, has hailed the Directive as a great step forward in the challenge for improving air quality across borders.

Mr Vella said: “The new European air quality rules are a significant landmark in the fight against this invisible killer that is air pollution.

“Air pollution kills over 450,000 people in Europe each year. This is more than ten times as many as road traffic accidents.”

Implementation

Mr Vella added that member states will be required to pull their weight: “Now it is for the national governments to start with implementation so that people can benefit from cleaner air. We will work with Member States to support them in this challenge for improving the health of EU citizens.”

The role of the Member States in coordinating and implementing the Directive at national level is very important.

Countries must transpose the Directive into national legislation by 30 June 2018 and produce a National Air Pollution Control Programme by 2019, setting out measures to ensure that emissions of five main air pollutants are reduced by the percentages agreed by 2020 and 2030.

UK ECR member Julie Girling was responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament (see AirQualityNews.com story).