EC Launches Consultation on Improving EU Air Quality Policy

With up to 49% of Europeans living in areas where EU air quality objectives are still not met, air pollution is one of the main environmental worries facing EU citizens.

As part of a comprehensive review of Europe’s air policies intended to set new long-term objectives beyond 2020, the European Commission is launching a public consultation on its current policy in this area. For the next twelve weeks, views are being sought on the strengths and weaknesses of the existing legislative framework and progress on its implementation. This web-based consultation is part of a broader process of reflection that will feed into a review due no later than 2013.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik comments: “Looking back at Europe’s record in improving air quality, we have much to be proud of. But with 500 000 premature deaths associated with high air pollution from particulate matter, there is clearly much work still to be done. We need to start a discussion on the next generation of air quality objectives straight away.”

The public consultation invites all interested parties to share their views on the best way to improve the EU’s air quality legislation. It is divided into two parts – a short questionnaire for the general public and a longer section for experts and practitioners from national administrations, regional or local authorities, researchers, businesses, stakeholders, health, environmental and other groups involved in the implementation of EU air quality legislation.

This is the start of a broad consultation process as announced by the Commission in January 2011 (see MEMO/11/31). The Commission will continue its preparatory work and carry out another round of public consultations before presenting ideas on the future of EU air policy by 2013 at the latest.

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