European Environment Bureau says air pollution reductions sought from member states until 2030 are â€˜regrettably lowâ€™
Air pollution limits proposed by the European Commission up to 2030 are â€˜too highâ€™ and give Member States too long to meet them, according to the European Environment Bureau (EEB).
In December 2013, the Commission published its long-awaited package of air quality measures, which included a tightening of national limits for six major pollutants for 2020 and 2030 (see airqualitynews.com).
But the EEB believes the reductions sought are â€œregrettably low compared to what could have been achieved by switching fuel use, increasing energy efficiency or promoting more sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cyclingâ€.
The comments from the EEB â€“ which represents 140 environmental organisations â€“ follow warnings from the European Environment Agency (EEA) last week (March 14) that concentrations of particulate matter PM10 were â€˜unusually highâ€™ in parts of Western Europe, with a temporary car ban introduced in Paris to try to abate the problem.
As a result, the EEB yesterday (March 18) said the European Parliament and EU Member States had a â€œcrucial opportunity to improve EU air quality if they significantly strengthen the package of air pollution measures proposed by the Commissionâ€.
And, the EEB also said that as they stand, the Commissionâ€™s proposals would leave â€œenormous health problems unaddressedâ€, with 260,000 premature air pollution deaths estimated each year from 2030 onwards.
Louise Duprez, EEB senior policy officer for air, commented: â€œThe old mantra â€˜prevention is better than cureâ€™ has rarely been more pertinent. The huge costs of air pollution could be saved if only governments would prevent air pollution before it reached these crisis levels.â€
Maria Arnold of the Healthy Air Campaign and ClientEarth in the UK, said: â€œThe UK have been shown up by other EU Member States in recent days – despite also suffering a serious pollution event they failed to issue a full smog alert, or take any proactive measures as seen in France and Belgium.â€
She added: â€œThe UK government needs to wake up and push for ambitious EU action.â€