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EU states likely to miss 2030 clean air targets

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EU states likely to miss 2030 clean air targets

Pollution - Photo Pexels

(BRUSSELS) - Most EU Member States are at risk of not complying with their 2020 or 2030 emission reduction commitments, a first Commission report on implementation of the European clean air rules has found.

Europeans are still at risk from the air they breathe, said Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius: "We need more effective measures to cut pollution in numerous Member States and to tackle air emissions across sectors, including agriculture, transport and energy."

The report to assess the implementation of the National Emission reduction Commitments Directive (NEC Directive), the first programmes of measures to control air emissions, finds that the implementation of the new European clean air rules needs improvement. Member States need to step up efforts to ensure citizens can breathe clean air, preventing respiratory diseases and premature death caused by breathing polluted air.

While some Member States show good practices that should be inspiring for others, the report demonstrates the need for additional measures in order to reduce air pollution, says the Commission. It adds that it will continue to monitor and support national efforts in this regard, through financial and non-financial tools. Efforts are especially needed in agriculture to reduce ammonia emissions, which is the most common and severe implementation challenge across the EU.

The National Emission reduction Commitments Directive, which entered into force in December 2016, is the main legislative instrument to achieve the 2030 objectives of the Clean Air Programme. When fully implemented, the Directive is expected to reduce by almost 50% the negative health impacts of air pollution by 2030, and bring substantial benefits for the environment and climate.

The Directive sets national emission reduction commitments for the periods 2020-29 and more ambitious ones for 2030-onwards for five important air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Alongside this implementation report, the Commission has also released its consultants' analysis of each Member State National Air Pollution Control Programme and emission projections, as well as an EU-wide horizontal report bringing together this information.

Compliance with the 2020 emissions reduction commitments will be checked in 2022, when the emission inventories for 2020 become available.

Report on the progress made on the implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants

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