EU Member States are required to ensure that up-to-date information on ambient concentrations of the different pollutants is routinely made available to the public as well as to other organisations. This is done by providing information on websites, in the press and also by public displays. The information needs to be updated as appropriate to the averaging periods. The relation to the different limit and target values needs to be clear. When information or alert thresholds are exceeded, Member States need to inform the public about the exceedance and the actions that are eventually taken. This obligation is prescribed in detail in the different Directives.
At EU level a number of sources exist that provide information to the public. The European Air Quality Portal managed by the European Environment Agency links to several databases on air pollutants in the EU, for example:
- AirBase is the public air quality database system of the EEA based on the information from the continuous monitoring of air quality, collected under the Exchange of Information Decision 97/101/EC and the EEA priority data flows. It contains information submitted by the participating countries throughout Europe until 2012.
- The EEA has developed the Air Quality Index, a website to provide the public with Europe-wide near real time data on ozone. The website also contains multiple links to national and regional air quality websites.
- The CDR contains a collection of documents delivered by each country, concerning various topics, including air quality.
- The European Environmental Agency's annual report "Air Quality in Europe" gives an overview of the data and its implications.
Reporting since 2013
Commission Implementing Decision of 12 December 2011 lays down rules for Directives 2004/107/EC and 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the reciprocal exchange of information and reporting on ambient air quality.
The Commission Implementing Decision has been developed by the Commission with the support of the Ambient Air Quality Committee and the working group on data exchange consisting of national experts, the EEA and Commission representatives. The Committee approved the draft which was adopted by the Commission on 12 December 2011. The requirements with regard to reporting and exchange of air quality information apply as from 1 January 2014.
The Member States and European Commission, with the extensive support by the European Environment Agency have prepared a Common Understanding to facilitate the implementation of the Decision 2011/850/EC:
- Member States' and European Commission's Common Understanding of the Commission Implementing Decision (i.e. IPR Guidance part I - Version 2.0.1)
- IPR guidance part I – Version 1 (note: as of 15 March 2018 this is replaced by the above ‘Common Understanding’)
- IPR guidance part II
More details about the mechanism of reporting can be found at the Ambient Air Quality Portal managed by the European Environment Agency.
Reporting before 2013
Before the Commission Implementing Decision came into force, the annual reporting was done using "questionnaires". The official commission decision in English that lays down this questionnaire for annual reporting can be downloaded here OJ L 156, 30 April 2004 p 78.
The questionnaires with the annual air quality report until 2012 included, filled in by Member States, are available on the CDR (European Union obligations > Annual reporting on ambient air quality limit values plans or programmes).
The guidelines used by Member States to fill in the questionnaires have become obsolete with the introduction of the new reporting system discussed above. However, they might still be useful to interpret the questionnaires available on the CDR:
The information on monitoring data from stations until 2012 included is made available in unaggregated form through the European database Airbase.