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Green week 2013 – focus on cleaner air - 03/06/2013

European experts seek to fine-tune EU approach to environmental protection at annual Brussels meeting – 4-7 June.

EU rules have helped make Europe’s air less polluted over the years. Even so, people living in some of the most densely populated cities and regions still suffer from very poor air quality. In some, people are breathing air which exceeds EU limits for particulates, ozone and nitrogen dioxide by a wide margin.

More needs to be done. Almost 4 out of 5 Europeans agree that the EU should propose stronger measures to address air pollution.

In response, the European Commission is preparing proposals to address shortcomings in current rules. As part of this review, the Commission has received input though 2 public online consultations – the second ended on 4 March 2013, with the results to be published soon.

The Commission is also gathering input at this year’s Green Week forum in Brussels. Some 3 000 scientists, business leaders, environmental advocates and government officials will be on hand to discuss ways to clean up Europe’s air. Anyone can register to attend the forum, which will be streamed live online.

They will start on Tuesday with a discussion on the current state of air quality and the impact of polluted air on people – premature deaths from respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer diseases for example.

Participants will hear the main findings in the on-going review of EU air policy and some of the key policy options under consideration. These options are in line with the Commission’s environmental action programme to 2020.

The event will move on to discuss the main ways to effectively implement EU air quality rules and reduce risks to human health and the environment.

Participants will consider the most promising solutions, resources and milestones for improving EU air quality in a sustainable way.

The Commission plans to make a package of proposals this autumn.

Some 50 events are also scheduled to take place outside of Brussels, including in the UK. For example, on 7 June, Leicester is hosting a workshop on innovative solutions to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in the region.

More on the EU's approach to the environment

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