New National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive to enter into force on 31 December 2016

The NEC sets stricter limits on air pollution and foresees to reduce by almost 50% the negative impacts on health by 2030. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment highlighted the importance of this achievement towards the fight of the invisible killer that is air pollution.

“Air pollution kills over 450 000 people in Europe each year. This is more than ten times as many as road traffic accidents. Now it is for the national governments to start with implementation so that people can benefit from cleaner air”, the Commissioner said.

The Directive is the backbone of the Commission's Clean Air Programme for Europe.

What will be the role of Member States?

The role of Member States is central. In particular they will make sure to

  • transpose the Directive into national legislation by 30 June 2018
  • produce a National Air Pollution Control Programme by 2019 to reduce the harmful emissions of the five main pollutants notably fine particulate matter (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, and ammonia
  • coordinate with plans in fields such as transport, agriculture, energy and climate (fresh water, soil, and ecosystems)

These costs will be balanced indirectly and on a longer term by the benefits in cost savings on health care and diseases.

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