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Implementation of ambient air quality legislation

Management of air pollution

AirStructural Plans and Programmes

Member States need to ensure that limit values are complied with throughout the territory by their respective attainment dates, and that target values are respected to the extent possible (see Directives for specific legal obligation). Action is required before the attainment dates when certain assessment thresholds set in the Directives are exceeded, generating a requirement to prepare and implement air quality plans or programmes. Minimum requirements of such plan are given in the framework directive. Plan or programme need to be available to the public and reported to the Commission within 2 years after the exceedance has been assessed.

To support implementation, the Commission working groups provided the following guidance:

By now extensive experience in preparation and implementation of plans and programmes is being generated. In 2004 the Commission organised a workshop on Plans and Programmes. The final report and other findings can be downloaded on the relevant CAFE webpage.

In 2006, a study has been conducted for the Commission by UBA on Plans and Programmes reported under 1996/62/EC. The report of this study can be downloaded here:

In 2007, a study has been conducted for the Commission by TNO on Plans and Programmes. The draft report of this study can be downloaded here:

In 2005, the European Environmental Bureau reviewed more than 30 air quality management plans from 30 cities, independent form the Commission. This report can be downloaded here:

In 2007, a study was conducted for the Commission by AEA Energy & Environment on the impact of changes in the vehicle fleet and treatment technology on the attainment of the limit value for nitrogen dioxide. The report can be downloaded here:

In 2006, a study was conducted for the Commission by the European Environmental Agency and the European Topic Centre for Air and Climate Change on air quality and the ancillary benefits of climate change policies. The report can be downloaded here:

This CAFE webpage contains more links to relevant background documents.

Short term Plans and Programmes

After the attainment date, Member States shall draw up action plans indicating the measures that they will take in the short term where there is a risk of the limit values and/or alert thresholds being exceeded, in order to reduce that risk and to limit the duration of such an occurrence.

The Working group on Implementation in 2003 also drafted guidance on needed action when exceeding an alert threshold:

In 2011, a study was conducted for the Commission by AEA Technology plc and Umweltbundesamt GmbH on the best practices on Short term action plans. The report can be downloaded here:

Regarding the 3rd Daughter Directive relating to ozone, the Commission adopted Decision 2004/279/EC which includes in Annex I and II guidelines on general aspects of short term action plans as well as some examples and experience. This Commission Decision can be downloaded here:

In June 2012, a PM Workshop was organised in Brussels for the Commission by TNO in cooperation with UBA and AEA Technology. The presentations of the workshop can be downloaded here.