LIFE11 ENV/DE/000495

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Contact details:

Contact person: Heiko Balsmeyer
Tel: 0049/30/280351-22
Fax: 0049/30/280351-10
Email: heiko.balsmeyer@vcd.org

Project description:


Road traffic, industry, energy production and households are all sources of air pollution and pose a threat to human health. Moreover, individual pollutants, such as diesel soot as a component of PM10, also contribute significantly to climate change. The European Union’s 2008 Air Quality Directive summarises five previous acts on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe to improve the efficiency of individual laws, and to achieve more clarity and simplification in terms of improved implementation by Member States. The directive combines provisions for assessing and monitoring air quality by means of limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxides, particulate matters and airborne lead. It also includes limit values for benzene, carbon monoxide and ozone and has provision for agreements on the exchange of information and data from networks and individual stations measuring air pollution within countries. Despite the legislative framework (including proposed revisions to the directive under the Clean Air Policy Package [2013]), continuing violations of air pollution limits remain a problem that needs addressing.


The main objectives of the CA project were:

  • To bring the specific knowledge of NGOs and administrations to the European level to support the monitoring of the 2008 Air Quality Directive (under review since the project terminated);
  • To build an effective network of local and regional administrations and experts from environmental and consumer protection NGOs working on best practice models to reduce air pollutants from the transport sector in cities;
  • To give NGOs the competence through capacity building to use justice as an instrument for supporting the implementation of the directive. This would force administrations to really use effective instruments for the reduction of emissions;
  • To promote practical measures in the most important fields of activities of air quality and transport by implementation, documentation and dissemination of best practice; and
  • To raise European citizens' awareness about the objectives of the Air Quality Directive and the positive impacts on the environment and quality of life.
  • Specific project objectives were: - To contribute to revisions of the Air Quality Directive by:

  • Providing contributions to the revision process from relevant NGOs from at least seven European countries;
  • Holding international NGO-workshops, the results of which would be incorporated into the revision of the directive; and
  • Advising on limit values for ultrafine particles and/or for black carbon, which would be incorporated into the revision of the directive.
  • - To build capacity for NGOs and local authorities stakeholders by:

  • Involving some 100 local authorities and regional administrations who would receive guidelines on air quality legislation;
  • Establishing a network of representatives of at least 100 institutions and 80 environmental/consumer protection NGOs; and
  • Participation of some 100 organisations in capacity-building workshops.
  • - To contribute directly to the improved implementation of the Air Quality Directive through:

  • Retrofitting of 100 buses;
  • Establishment of shore-side power supply for ships in 10 port cities;
  • Retrofitting 20 ships with a diesel particle filter;
  • Persuading at least six cities to join the ‘Action Alliance European Biking Cities’;
  • Informing at least 50 driving schools, 100 companies and 1 000 individuals about eco-driving; and
  • Conducting a survey on environmental zones and other air quality measures in 45 municipalities in Germany and 60 municipalities in six other EU Member States. In addition, various dissemination activities targeted at (potentially 24 million European citizens) being better informed about the Air Quality Directive and its importance for the environment and quality of life.


The CA project tackled the problem of continuing violations of air pollution limits by strengthening environmental governance and increasing access to justice, which helps to improve compliance with EU legislation. It empowered and motivated EU citizens and NGOs to campaign for effective air quality measures. The beneficiary organised ten workshops for NGOs during the project period. Those workshops imparted the knowledge, which options organisations and affected citizens have to sue institutions for the right to clean air. In Berlin, Brussels, Prague, Vienna, London, Bratislava and Lisbon experts taught interested participants, how to act in the most promising way during a lawsuit. The beneficiary managed to transfer the knowledge and experience on supporting plaintiffs in lawsuits against non-compliance towards air quality targets to NGOs across the EU. Thus, those NGOs are able to carry this knowledge further now.

In total, nine European environmental NGOs joined forces under the framework of the project to tackle areas of urban air pollution including private and public transport, inland and maritime ships and construction machinery. Pilot actions were implemented, best practice models presented, Low Emission Zones extended and the consortium lobbied for stricter air pollution limits at EU level. Significantly, many of these initiatives are continuing after-LIFE. The most challenging aspect of the project was the cooperation with local authorities, some of whom proved less active in contributing than was expected.

The project was innovative with regards to the raising awareness of the issue of clean air in ports (sea and inland) among all stakeholders. An important deliverable was its manual "Clean Air in Ports", which was distributed to ports, ship owners, local authorities, major port cities, during events and by email. Elsewhere in Europe among participating authorities, the city of Budapest agreed investments for 2016 to continue the renewal of the public buses by retrofitting and replacing them with greener alternatives, including of 25 electric buses).

CA - Clean Air’s demonstration value and socio-economic impacts were important as the project addresses all aspects of transportation and air quality. Under human health, for instance, polluted urban air causes respiratory diseases as well as cardiovascular problems and lung cancer. Research carried out by WHO has shown that 70 000 annual deaths worldwide are due to air pollution caused by particulate matter. Beside the health problems, poor air quality also leads to an economic devaluation of inner cities and real estate. Thus an improvement of air quality would lead to an increase in the quality of life in the cities, which in turn would generate direct increases in property values. In addition, a part of the improvement in air quality would be achieved through technical measures such as the extensive implementation of particle filters. The manufacturers of this technology in Europe would profit from increased use, also making them able to secure qualified jobs in the long term.

The CA project actions have helped to implement the provisions of the Air Quality Directive and proposed revisions, as well as the Non Road Mobile Machinery Directive, and the Thematic Strategy on air pollution.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Air & Noise - Air pollutants
Information - Governance - Improved legislative compliance and enforcement


environmental impact of transport‚  information system‚  public health‚  air pollution

Target EU Legislation

  • Air
  • Directive 2008/50/EC - Ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (21.05.2008)
  • COM (2013/0918) - A Clean Air Programme for Europe (18.12.2013)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V.
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The VCD is an association for sustainable mobility and a major German transport and environmental organisation. It was founded in 1986 and has some 60 000 members and supporters. The VCD supports environmentally friendly mobility, more public transport, more cycling, more walking and better traffic safety.
Partners Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Germany Naturschutzbund Deutschland NABU, Germany Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Berlin, Germany VCÖ Vienna, Austria European Federation for Transport and Environment T&E Brussels, Belgium Det Økologiske Råd-The Danish Ecocouncil Norrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark The Clean Air Action Group Budapest, Hungary Centre for Sustainable Alternatives Zvolen, Slovakia


Project reference LIFE11 ENV/DE/000495
Duration 01-SEP-2012 to 30-NOV -2015
Total budget 3,398,810.00 €
EU contribution 1,686,635.00 €
Project location Wien(Österreich) Steiermark(Österreich) Salzburg(Österreich) Praha(Czech Cesko) Berlin(Deutschland) Københavns amt(Danmark) Kozep-Magyarorszag(Hungary Magyarország) Mazowieckie(Poland Polska)


Read more:

Brochure "Can you breathe? Information on clean air" (773 KB)
Brochure "Ecodriving: Technical Report Summary" (1.51 MB)
Brochure "Ruß in Deutschland: Hintergrundinformationen für Entscheidungsträger" (1.32 MB)
Leaflet "Ecodriving" (486 KB)
Leaflet Project's flyer
Poster "Together we take action for clean air" (1.42 MB)
Poster "Clean Air Copenhagen" (4.86 MB)
Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter Account
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Case study "Clean Air Copenhagen - Air quality challenges and ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline: Low emission zones" (872 KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline: Local Bans of high emitters" (364 KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline: Sustainable Parking Management" (416 K ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline: Congestion Charges" (452 KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline: Cleaner Ships" (532 KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline Cleaner buses" (491 KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline: Construction machinery" (483 KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Ecodriving and Energy-Efficient driving principle ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guideline Cycling - Cost-Effective measures" (610 ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Clean air in ports: EU LIFE+ Project "Clean Air"" ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Video link Project's video on Youtube "Clean Air in Cities"


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version