The National Emission Ceiling Directive is one of the main regulatory tools in the battle against air pollution.  Ahead of Member States gathering in Brussels on 25th February, for the first of several meetings to look at setting new caps for 2020, 2025 and 2030, the European Environment Bureau has published its own analysis of the expected impact of the lower ceiling being sought by a number of Member States on human health.

To improve air quality in cities, the challenge set for this €3 million prize is to develop an innovative and well-designed material solution that will reduce the concentration of particulate matter in the air.  Particulate matter (PM) is the air pollutant which has the most severe impact on health. Currently, around 90% of the population of European cities for which PM data exist is exposed to levels exceeding WHO air quality guidelines levels.The Horizon Prize on materials for clean air will be awarded to the most affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven material solution that

The European Commission has referred Belgium and Bulgaria to EU Court of Justice over persistently high levels of the dust particles (PM10s) which pose a major risk to public health. Air quality has been a problem in many places for a number of years now, as a result of human activities such as transport, industry and domestic heating causing health problems. EU legislation set limit values for PM10s (i.e. particulate matter of a diameter of less than 10 microns) since 2005.

The UK Supreme Court has ruled on 29 April that the Government’s plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain are insufficient to meet targets for 2030 and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

Operators of medium combustion plants should be given more lenient air pollution caps and extended compliance deadlines, an MEP leading work on a new pollution law has proposed.

Medium combustion plants should be divided into three categories according to their thermal input with less stringent air pollution limit values applied to smaller installations, according to EPP group MEP Andrzej Grzyb.

Fewer new measures will be needed to meet the EU’s 2030 air pollution targets than expected when the EU’s clean air package was proposed in 2013, new figures for the European Commission indicate.

There is greater potential to reduce PM2.5 emissions in particular, which also makes it easier to reduce emissions of other air pollutants, consultancy IIASA said.

The MEP leading work on proposed new stringent air pollution limits for 2030 says the European Commission needs to do more work on the economic impacts of its plan. The costs and benefits of tougher ammonia and methane limits in particular need to be further evaluation according to Julie Girling the Parliament’s ECR group.

19 EU member states have not yet drawn up laws to implement a directive setting limits on sulphur emissions from ships in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and English Channel that takes effect from next year. The European Commission will begin 'pilot investigations', the first stage of infringement proceedings, against member states that have not transposed the directive on the sulphur content of marine fuels.

In a follow-up to Green Week 2013, the Commission launched shortly before Christmas 2013 a new policy package aimed at protecting air quality in Europe. It includes:

In response to the damaging effects of poor air quality on human health, the Commission has published new measures to reduce air pollution.

The clean air policy package updates existing legislation and aims to further reduce harmful emissions from industry, traffic, energy plants and agriculture, with a view to reducing their impact on human health and the environment.