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Air quality is one of the priorities included in the European Union’s plan to develop European urban areas. This plan called Urban Agenda and composed by 12 priority themes essential to the development of urban areas (also divided into 12 partnerships) is opened to professionals and stakeholders able to give relevant recommendations to develop the future strategy for urban areas.

EFA hand in hand with the Health and Environmental Alliance has contributed to this future plan in cities through recommendations to the Air Quality Partnership, aiming to bring the ‘healthy city’ to a higher position in the local, national and EU level policies.

Many cities are encountering difficulties to comply with the air quality standards set by the European Union, as EFA has pointed out along the year. The air quality partnership tries to understand these difficulties and where they happen to address them in a way that cities comply with air quality standards.

For EFA, a key first step is to correctly identify the gaps in the regulations on air pollutant emission sources. Given that air quality is a cross-cutting issue, we have recommended to consult institutions at all levels (EU, national, local). We also think that an effective process needs to follow the World Health Organisations (WHO) guidelines, and involve representatives of the most vulnerable groups (patients/women/children) because they know better than others what it means to be affected by air pollution. This would also give a human face to the problem, therefore contributing to raising awareness.

Finance is another area for air quality improvement. EFA proposed to earmark public EU money for innovative projects to reduce air pollution in new multiannual financial funds and research funding under discussion.         

Thirdly, we agreed with the Partnership that focusing on protection and improvement of citizens’ health is fundamental and we insisted in the inclusion of WHO’s current work in the revision on air quality guidelines.

Finally, raising awareness and knowledge sharing is key for the conclusion of the plan, so we recommended to involve patients and doctors associations (at the EU and national levels) in the implementation. Raising awareness campaigns must be complemented by outreach campaigns. To do so, we suggested to organize not only scientific events but also conferences for the lay public, complemented by messages in billboards and social and traditional media the role of the EU in protecting public health, which will also be beneficial in times of wide Euroscepticism.

See all our recommendations here

See our previous participation in the EU Air Quality partnership here.

If you want to know about other European Commision's consultations, follow the link: https://ec.europa.eu/info/consultations_en 

Tags: Category: News
Country: Europe
Theme: Air quality, - Air pollution