EU states failing air pollution targets

Half of the EU's member states are expected to miss legally-binding air pollution targets in 2010, according to analysis by the European Environment Agency.

Thirteen countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands expect to exceed limits on one or more of the four pollutants covered by the EU’s National Emission Ceilings Directive.

Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and ammonia are all covered by the legislation, which gives individual targets for each EU member state.

A European Environment Agency (EEA) report monitoring the data for 2006 reported by members shows only 11, including the UK, Poland and Greece, expect to meet their targets on all four pollutants.

The report said: “The available data shows quite clearly a decrease in emissions of the four NECD pollutants in the majority of the Member States.

“The 2006 data show that a number of countries have already succeeded in reducing their emissions below the level of the pollutant-specific emission ceilings specified in the directive.

“In addition, certain countries anticipate achieving the necessary reduction before 2010.”

Several of the countries failing to reach the required levels told the EEA they are already considering introducing new measures to achieve their goals.

Nitrogen oxide has proved to be the toughest pollutant to reduce, with 11 countries reporting that additional measures will be needed to meet their 2010 target.

However, the EEA criticised several countries for providing incomplete data or submitting it after the December 2006 deadline. Luxembourg had failed to submit any data before the report was compiled.

Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU this year, were not included in the report.

Kate Martin

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