Commission objects to Member State delay in complying with EU air quality legislation
minimum requirements of the Directive for a time extension"
overdue indictment of the UK’s attitude to air pollution, complying with environmental
deadlines and protecting public health
it could stop the Heathrow expansion in its tracks. This issue should also concern
London Mayor Boris Johnson as he reconsiders the western extension to the Congestion
Charging Zone. Then there are the London Olympics in 2012. The organisers would
face a public relations disaster if the European Court of Justice took enforcement
action against the UK for breaching Article 22 in the months leading up to the
Games. The legal obligations rest on the UK as a Member State.”
time to comply with EU air quality legislation
Bulgaria, Poland and the United Kingdom for additional time to comply with EU
legislation on air quality.
from the EU’s air quality standards for dangerous airborne particles known as
PM 10. The decision addressed to Poland also concerned a request for a temporary postponement
of the deadline to meet the Nitrogen dioxide (NO 2) limit values in one zone. The Commission decisions approve time extensions for PM 10 in five air quality zones in Poland but objected to all other requests. Some
17 decisions have already been adopted in 2009. The vast majority of air quality
zones in the EU did not satisfy the conditions for a time extension, or were already
found to be in compliance with the limit values.
must be our utmost priority. The 2008 EU air quality Directive recognises the
difficulties some Member States have experienced in meeting the standards for PM 10 by the initial deadline of 2005 and allows the possibility of a limited time
extension. However, the Commission expects Member States to clearly demonstrate that they
are doing their utmost to comply with EU standards in the shortest possible time.”
exemptions satisfy the conditions in the Directive.
Kingdom, the Commission considered that the conditions have not been met. In many
cases, this is because insufficient data has been provided or because the measures
outlined in the air quality plans submitted to the Commission do not demonstrate
that the standards will be met when the exemption period expires.
be necessary since compliance with the limit values has already been achieved.
This is the case in the United Kingdom, where all air quality zones except the
Greater London zone were in compliance in 2008. The Commission found the air quality
plan for this particular zone did not meet the minimum requirements of the Directive
for a time extension.
States may put forward further requests if they provide new information to demonstrate
fulfilment of the conditions.
for an exemption from the PM 10 limit values were satisfied in 48 air quality zones in Austria, Cyprus, the
Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
it has been demonstrated that compliance will be achieved at the expiry of the
time extension period through comprehensive air quality plans.
asthma, cardiovascular problems, lung cancer and premature death. Nitrogen dioxide
(NO 2) is mainly emitted by traffic or other fuel combustion processes and can cause
respiratory illnesses and damage to lung tissue.
values for the maximum permitted concentrations of certain pollutants in the air.
Action to reduce pollution through an air quality plan is required where there
is a risk of these standards being exceeded.
on 1 January 2005. Two limit values for Nitrogen dioxide (NO 2) based on hourly and annual average concentrations will enter into force on
1 January 2010.
air quality standards for PM 10 (until 11 June 2011) and NO 2 and benzene (until 2015 at the latest). During the extension period, limit values
continue to apply plus a margin of tolerance.
notifications or to which the Commission has already addressed a decision objecting
to a time extension and which continue to exceed the PM 10 limit values (see