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Reducing air pollution: National emission ceilings for air pollutants [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Didier Bourguignon (6th edition)

© daizuoxin / Fotolia

Despite significant progress in recent decades, air pollution levels in the European Union still have adverse impacts on the environment and on health. The European Commission estimates that health-related costs of air pollution in the EU range from 390 to 940 billion euros per year.

The proposed directive, which would replace the current National Emission Ceilings Directive, sets binding national reduction objectives for six air pollutants (SO2, NOx, NMVOCs, NH3, PM2.5 and CH4) to be met by 2020 and 2030. It will also implement the Gothenburg Protocol as amended in 2012. The European Commission estimates that implementation costs would range from 2.2 to 3.3 billion euros per year.

After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the European Parliament and the Council, the presidents of the co-legislators signed the final act on 14 December 2016. Member States are required to transpose the new directive into national law by 1 July 2018.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants and amending Directive 2003/35/EC

Committee responsible:


Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)

Julie Girling (ECR, UK)

COM(2013)920 of 18.12.2013

procedure ref.: 2013/0443(COD)


Ordinary legislative procedure

Procedure completed: Directive (EU) 2016/2284

OJ L 344, 17.12.2016, p. 1


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