Poor air quality leads to more than 400,000 premature deaths per year in Europe - the urgency to act for clearer air is clear. Cities and urban areas, where 75% of EU’s population live, are where the effects of poor air are felt the most.
City authorities across Europe are responding by taking bold measures to deliver better air quality for people. Actions include ambitious low emission zones, cleaner public transport, promotion of modal shift through better urban infrastructure, introduction of nature-based solutions infrastructure, while also engaging and communicating with citizens on good practices in this transition to cleaner air.
However, there are emissions sources affecting the air quality in cities that are either located outside city boundaries or that are from sectors beyond the control of city authorities, although the pressure to act tends to be focussed on city governments. Air pollution can only be tackled effectively through coordinated action across local, national and EU levels, and across sectors including transport, agriculture, shipping and energy production. Better collaboration and dialogue among all stakeholders and levels of government is essential as well as more coherent EU legislation that aligns the goals of the air quality with the goals of EU source legislation.