Air quality package recognises city concerns

  • environment

Commission's air quality package reflects many of the points we had argued for

The European Commission published its air quality package on 18 December 2013. The package reflects crucial points we have been arguing for, in particular the need to improve source policies and set stricter national emissions ceilings to support air quality actions in cities.

The centrepiece of the proposal is a revision of the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, aligning it with the 2012 revision of the Gothenburg protocol on long-range transboundary air pollution in 2020; and setting stricter emissions ceilings in 2030, with intermediate obligations in 2025.

A new directive should limit emissions from medium-sized combustion plants.

When it comes to EU funding, the Commission suggests member states draw on the European structural and investment funds for air quality measures, in particular in urban areas. The new LIFE programme will also provide funding for air quality actions: air quality projects supported by LIFE should somewhat resemble the existing air implementation pilot project (see the link below). Horizon 2020 will support innovative approaches to tackling air quality and climate change.

We issued a press release when the package was released, and EurActiv published an opinion piece by Councillor James McKay from Birmingham, chair of our environment forum, on 9 January 2014.