An organisation representing major EU cities has called for â€˜strongâ€™ action on emissions at European level as negotiations on the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive draw closer.
The call came from, EUROCITIES, whose members include representatives from UK cities including London, Bristol and Liverpool.
In a letter to the DutchÂ minister for environment and president of the Environment Council, Sharon Dijksma ahead of the negotiations on the NEC Directive tomorrow (8 June), the organisation set out what it sees as the priorities for negotiations.
In the letter, EUROCITIES says that, in order to make real progress on improving urban air quality, â€˜strong legislation at national and European level is essential in supporting efforts by cities to clean up local airâ€™.
It also calls for binding reduction targets for 2025 and ambitious emission reduction commitments, with flexibilities for incompliance kept to a minimum.
The NEC sets upper limits for each member state on certain harmful pollutants. Member States can then decide how best they achieve these targets.
The directive is currently being reviewed as part of the Clean Air Package.
Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES secretary general, said: â€œThis legislation is crucial for improving local air quality. Air pollution is the most important environmental health problem in Europe and cities, where over 130 million European citizens live, are worst affected.
â€œWe are counting on ambitious and binding targets to achieve the cleaner air we all deserve.â€
Last week, campaigners wrote to Environment Secretary Liz Truss, urging her to show â€˜greater ambitionâ€™ on efforts to tackle air pollution in Britain andÂ to show leadership in Brussels. The government has faced claims that it is trying to weaken air pollution targets (see airqualitynews.com story).
Among signatories was ClientEarth, which is taking the government back to court over illegal levels of air pollution in Britainâ€™s towns and cities.