Commission consults on air pollution action plan

The European Commission is launching an internet consultation, open to the public, on the measures to be included in a new comprehensive European action plan to reduce air pollution.

The consultation will run until January 31 2005 and results will be published in March.

Life expectancy for European citizens and ecology can be severely hampered by poor air quality. Recent studies show that more than 22,000 premature deaths each year are due to high levls of ozone, that life expectancy can be reduced by between 3 to 14 months due to particulate pollution, that 23% of the European forests suffer damage from acid rain and 63% of European ecosystems suffer from excessive nitrogen deposition.

“The facts about the impact of air pollution on the human organism are disturbing, but in order to react properly, we need to understand more about causes and effects. There are things we can do to improve air quality and we have to start now,” said Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the Environment.

The Commission wants the action plan to look at such things as exhaust emission standards for cars, new ways of promoting clean transport, future air quality limit values and reduction objectives per country and per sector.

The consultation will ask questions like: ‘What is the quality of the air in your neighbourhood?’, ‘Is it important to reduce air pollution?’, and ‘What policies should we pursue to reduce air pollution?’

David Hopkins

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