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More than half of EU member states did not meet a key deadline in late April to submit their national air pollution programmes, an obligation under the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive.

Adopted in 2016, the directive requires Member States to take measures and involve the public in the process to reduce air pollution by 2020 and 2030. The NEC Directive integrated new requirements compared to the old directive such as reporting requirements on PM2.5, emission levels for amonia and priority actions on black carbon.

EFA regrets the impact of respiratory health due to the poor implementation of the directive

In the past, EFA had actively pushed together with other public health and environment non-profit organisations for a stricter directive to reduce premature deaths and respiratory diseases caused or exacerbated by air pollution.

Among others, we have advocated for legally binding targets for 2025. But also for emission reduction commitments corresponding to at least 52% health improvement by 2030 EU-wide, and support provisions granting the public the right to access to information.

Our proposals were grounded on the shocking number of 403,000 premature deaths in Europe associated with air pollution, which particularly affects patients with allergies and respiratory diseases. Although a positive step, the adopted text reflected a strong resistance in the Council, which called for weaker targets than the ones advocated by the Commission and the Parliament.

Unfortunately, the news of the poor delivery by 15 member states is another testimony of the gap between legislation at the EU level and implementation at national level. This is endemic especially in the environmental policy area.

The lack of implementation indicates there is still a lot to do to make health a central element of national policies, regardless of the ambition of policies adopted at the EU level.

An overview on the submitted programmes can be found here. The list of countries for which the plans are still pending includes France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Hungary and Spain.

Tags: Category: News
Country: EU
Disease area: Asthma,COPD
Theme: Air quality, - Air pollution