Air pollution has been one of Europe's main political concerns since the late 1970s. European Union policy on air quality aims to develop and implement appropriate instruments to improve air quality. The control of emissions from mobile sources, improving fuel quality and promoting and integrating environmental protection requirements into the transport and energy sector are part of these aims.
The Sixth Environment Action Programme (EAP), "Environment 2010: Our future, Our choice", includes Environment and Health as one of the four main target areas where new effort is needed. Air pollution is one of the issues included under Environment and Health. Whilst overall air quality trends in the Community are encouraging, continued efforts and vigilance are still needed. The objective considered in the Sixth Environment Action Programme is to achieve levels of air quality that do not give rise to unacceptable impacts on, and risks to, human health and the environment. The Community is acting at many levels to reduce exposure to air pollution: through EC legislation, through work at the wider international level in order to reduce cross-border pollution, through working with sectors responsible for air pollution and with national, regional authorities and NGOs, and through research. The focus for the next ten years will be implementation of air quality standards and coherency of all air legislation and related policy initiatives.
Background information on pollutants and their effects on health can be found in the Air Quality Guidelines of the WHO and information on other air pollution effects and data can be obtained from the EEA.
Air Pollution policy is characterised by transparency both in the day-to-day proceedings and in the way research data and technical analysis are used for policy developments. Stakeholders have the opportunity here to present evidence and comments, giving as much clarification as possible about the technical justification and political motivation behind them.
If you have any questions about air pollution policy or ideas about how to improve this site please send us a message.