European air pollution policy has a long history and some notable successes to its name. The most recent wave of policy was launched in 2005 with the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution designed to make substantial progress towards the long-term EU objective:
"to achieve levels of air quality that do not result in unacceptable impacts on, and risks to, human health and the environment."
This objective, first set in the Sixth Environment Action Programme a decade ago, is confirmed in the recently-adopted Proposal for a new EU Environment Action Programme to 2020. And we still have a way to go to achieve it.
The time is ripe for a thoroughgoing review to assess the effectiveness of existing policy and plan for the future. The College of Commissioners gave a mandate for a review in January 2011, recognising the pressing need for action to improve air quality, which is a shared responsibility requiring our joint efforts. The mandate focused on a number of immediate measures plus a requirement for a comprehensive review of EU's air policy by 2013 at the latest. Some of the immediate measures have been completed:
Others are ongoing: the recent Cars 2020 Communication set out a timetable for the successful implementation of the Euro 6 vehicle standards in real-world driving conditions, and the revision of the Non-road Mobile Machinery legislation is also scheduled for 2013.
For the review of air pollution policy, the Commission is currently conducting a broad consultation process with the organisation of a series of Stakeholder Expert Groups in 2011 and 2012, involving a wide range of participants from Member States, industry, NGOs and international stakeholders.
The first Stakeholder Expert Group was held on 6/7 June 2011, the second on 19/20 January 2012, the third on 21 June 2012, the fourth on 5 December 2012, and the fifth on 3 April 2013. The four most recent meetings have been webstreamed and the links are provided below.
Presentations and documents from all meetings are publically available through a dedicated CIRCA library. There you will increasingly find additional information relevant for the wider air policy review process.
We will continue to keep you updated on the review process through this portal.
Committee of the Regions Outlook Opinion on the review of EU Air policy.
Second online consultation on the policy options for the review of the EU Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution and related policies. This follows the initial scoping consultation and is divided in two parts – a short questionnaire for the general public and a longer section for experts and practitioners.
Final report of first online consultation is available. The first public consultation, on the scope of the review, was launched on 30 June 2011. You can find the report of the consultation responses here:
If you have any questions on the review or on the consultation process, please contact us.