BETA


2020/2091(INI) Implementation of the Ambient Air Quality Directives: Directive 2004/107/EC and Directive 2008/50/EC

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead ENVI LÓPEZ Javi (icon: S&D S&D) LINS Norbert (icon: EPP EPP), RIES Frédérique (icon: Renew Renew), GIEGOLD Sven (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE)
Committee Opinion TRAN FIDANZA Carlo (icon: ECR ECR) Leila CHAIBI (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), Gheorghe FALCĂ (icon: PPE PPE), Pär HOLMGREN (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE), Marianne VIND (icon: S&D S&D), Vlad GHEORGHE (icon: RE RE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 54

Events

2021/03/25
   EP - Text adopted by Parliament, single reading
Documents
2021/03/25
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Documents
2021/03/25
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2021/03/24
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2021/03/08
   Committee report tabled for plenary
Details

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted an own-initiative report by Javi LÓPEZ (S&D, ES) on the implementation of the Ambient Air Quality Directives: Directive 2004/107/EC and Directive 2008/50/EC.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk in Europe, causing, according to the most recent EEA estimates, almost 400 000 premature deaths per year. In 2018, estimates of the health impact of long-term exposure to air pollution in the EU-28, indicated that PM2.5 was responsible to approximately 379 000 premature deaths, NO ₂ caused around 54 000 deaths and O3 accounted for 19 400 premature deaths.

A partially effective tool that needs to be improved

The report pointed out that while the ambient air quality directives have been successful in establishing common European air quality standards and facilitating the exchange of information, they have been only partially successful in effectively reducing air pollution and limiting its adverse effects on health, quality of life and the environment.

Members welcomed the European Green Deal’s commitment to revise air quality standards and called on the Commission to align PM10, PM2.5, SO2 and O3 values with WHO guidelines, and benzene (C6H6) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) values with WHO reference levels, through legislative changes to the ambient air quality directives. In particular, the Commission should propose to replace the current target values (O3, As, Cd, Ni and BaP) with limit values.

The revised standards should also cover other unregulated pollutants with demonstrated negative impacts on health and the environment in the EU, such as ultrafine particles, black carbon, mercury and ammonia. The Commission is invited to draw up a watch list covering substances that are a matter of health concern to citizens or the scientific community, such as microplastics.

Measuring air pollution

Members noted that Member States have set up an air quality monitoring network based on common criteria defined by the ambient air quality directives, comprising more than 4000 monitoring stations and 16 000 sampling points.

The Commission is urged to strengthen the obligations under the directive to ensure that Member States carry out air quality measurements at appropriate locations and close to emission sources, and that the data collected provide information on where the highest concentrations of air pollutants occur.

The report also called on the Commission to:

- review and establish new mandatory rules for locating monitoring stations and sampling points;

- define new indicators in air quality indices that better reflects the human exposure to air pollution, such as population density around monitoring stations and sampling points.

COVID-19 and air pollution

The report noted that confinement measures to control the spread of the pandemic led to a drastic temporary reduction in traffic and industrial activity and consequently resulted in an unprecedented decrease in emissions and air pollution on a continental scale, which clearly shows the impact of human activities on the environment.

Members suggested that all measures should be analysed to understand their impact and stressed the need to take into account the lessons learned from the COVID-19 air pollution pandemic when developing new measures.

Stringent policies for main pollution sources

Members warned that any new measures will be worthless if air quality is not properly prioritised and mainstreamed in all EU legislation, including EU emission source legislation, such as climate, energy, transport, industry, agriculture and waste, while ensuring synergies between all policy areas.

The report called on the Commission and Member States to assess the effectiveness of all emissions legislation and to strengthen it while ensuring compliance.

Improving air quality plans and enforcement of the Ambient Air Quality Directives

Air quality plans, which are a key requirement of the Ambient Air Quality Directives in cases where Member States do not comply with air quality standards, are often ineffective in terms of delivering their expected results.

Members called on the Commission to establish as soon as possible a set of minimum requirements and best practices for both the preparation and implementation of air quality plans, to ensure that these plans set out time-bound measures that are commensurate with the pollution problem they are intended to address.

As of February 2021, 31 infringement proceedings against 20 Member States were still ongoing concerning the implementation of the ambient air quality directives. The Commission is required to take legal action as soon as it becomes aware that EU air quality laws are not being implemented, and to swiftly follow up with court referrals and sanctions when violations are established.

Promoting public awareness and action

The report called on the Commission, Member States and relevant regional and local authorities to launch updated public information and awareness campaigns on topics such as the different types of air pollutants and their impact on human health, or the existing levels of air pollution in the territory, including information for vulnerable groups, and to publish rankings of the best and worst progress made by air quality zones.

Documents
2021/03/04
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2021/02/26
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2021/02/11
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2021/01/19
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2020/06/19
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2020/05/29
   EP - FIDANZA Carlo (ECR) appointed as rapporteur in TRAN
2020/05/06
   EP - LÓPEZ Javi (S&D) appointed as rapporteur in ENVI

Documents

Activities

Votes

Mise en œuvre des directives sur la qualité de l'air ambiant - Implementation of the Ambient Air Quality Directives - Umsetzung der Luftqualitätsrichtlinien - A9-0037/2021 - Javi López - § 1/1

2021/03/24 Outcome: +: 609, 0: 69, -: 11
DE ES FR PL IT RO NL HU PT CZ BE SE BG EL DK SK IE AT LT HR FI LV SI MT CY LU EE
Total
88
59
78
52
73
33
29
21
21
21
21
20
16
21
14
14
13
18
11
12
14
8
8
6
6
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7
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A9-0037/2021 - Javi López - § 1/2

2021/03/24 Outcome: +: 560, -: 118, 0: 11
DE ES FR RO NL HU PT SE CZ BE EL DK IE BG AT FI SK HR LT SI MT CY LU EE LV IT PL
Total
88
59
78
33
29
21
21
20
21
21
21
14
13
16
18
14
14
12
11
8
6
6
5
7
8
73
52
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Spain Verts/ALE

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A9-0037/2021 - Javi López - Am 12

2021/03/24 Outcome: -: 411, +: 262, 0: 16
PL IT HU AT LV CZ SI LT HR BG RO EE LU CY IE SK FI MT PT SE BE NL DK DE EL ES FR
Total
52
73
21
18
8
21
8
11
12
16
33
7
5
6
13
14
14
6
21
20
21
29
14
88
21
59
78
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A9-0037/2021 - Javi López - Am 5

2021/03/24 Outcome: -: 399, +: 235, 0: 54
PL HU CZ BG LV SI SK LT HR RO MT IE LU SE AT CY EE DE PT DK FI NL BE EL IT ES FR
Total
51
21
21
16
8
8
14
11
12
33
6
13
5
20
18
6
7
88
21
14
14
29
21
21
73
59
78
icon: PPE PPE
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1

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3

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3
icon: Renew Renew
97

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2

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3

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3

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icon: S&D S&D
142

Czechia S&D

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A9-0037/2021 - Javi López - Am 6

2021/03/24 Outcome: -: 373, +: 281, 0: 35
PL IT HU AT LT CZ BG LV SI BE HR LU SK RO MT EE IE SE CY FI NL PT DK DE EL ES FR
Total
52
73
21
18
11
21
16
8
8
21
12
5
14
33
6
7
13
20
6
14
29
21
14
88
21
59
78
icon: PPE PPE
170

Hungary PPE

1

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2

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1

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73
3

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3
icon: Renew Renew
97

Italy Renew

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2

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2

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1

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1

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A9-0037/2021 - Javi López - § 7/1

2021/03/24 Outcome: +: 604, -: 50, 0: 35
DE ES PL IT RO FR HU PT NL EL CZ SE BG BE SK IE DK AT LT HR FI LV SI MT CY LU EE
Total
88
59
52
73
33
78
21
21
29
21
21
20
16
21
14
13
14
18
11
12
14
8
8
6
6
5
7
icon: PPE PPE
170

Hungary PPE

1

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1

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2

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2
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142

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icon: Renew Renew
97

Italy Renew

2

Hungary Renew

2
3

Slovakia Renew

2

Ireland Renew

2

Austria Renew

For (1)

1

Lithuania Renew

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