Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe recognised that several Member States had particular difficulties in achieving compliance with the limit values for particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide and benzene, and so allowed for extensions of the deadline for achieving compliance under certain conditions.

Pursuant to Article 22 of Directive 2008/50/EC, Member States had the option to notify the Commission when, in their opinion, the conditions are met in a given zone or agglomeration for postponing the attainment deadline for the limit values for nitrogen dioxide and benzene, or for a time-limited exemption from applying the limit values for PM10 (which were already in force). Member States had to prove that:

    • for nitrogen dioxide and benzene, the limit values could not be achieved by 1 January 2010;
    • for PM10, all appropriate measures had been taken at national, regional and local level to meet the deadline for the limit values, i.e. 1 January 2005, and that limit values could not be achieved because of the presence of one or more of the following elements: site-specific dispersion characteristics, adverse climatic conditions or transboundary contributions;
    • for PM10, nitrogen dioxide and benzene, compliance with the limit values will be achieved at the expiry of the postponement or exemption period.

If the Commission did not raise objections within nine months of receipt of an official and complete notification, the limit values for nitrogen dioxide and benzene were postponed from January 2010 to January 2015 at the latest. For PM10, the exemption from the limit value applied for a three year period ending in June 2011.

During the postponement or exemption period the limit values continued to apply, plus a margin of tolerance. Outside the zones or agglomerations covered by the postponement or exemption decision, limit values had to be complied with in full.

For information on the notifications of time extensions submitted by Member States, please download the Commission’s decisions available in the table below.

Due to data protection rules under Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, the files containing notifications of time extensions submitted by Member States are not available on this website.

Member State

Commission decision


de en Decision 1

de en Decision 2

de en NO2- Decision 1


fr nl en

fr nl en NO2 Decision 1


bg en

bg en NO2- Decision 1


el en

Czech Republic

cs en

cs en NO2- Decision 1


da en Decision 1

da en NO2-Decision 1


fi sv en NO2- Decision 1


fr en Decision 1

fr en Decision 2

fr Decision 2 Corrigendum

fr en Decision 3

fr en NO2 - Decision 1


de en Decision 1

de en Decision 2

de en fr Decision 3

de en Decision 4

de en NO2 - Decision 1

de en NO2 - Decision 2

de en NO2 - Decision 3


el en


hu en

en bg NO2- Decision 1


it en Decision 1

it en Decision 2

it en NO2 Decision 1

it en NO2 Decision 2

it en NO2 Decision 2 - Annex


lv en

lv en NO2 Decision 1


en fr NO2 Decision 1


The Netherlands

nl en


en pl Decision 1

en pl Decision 2

en pl Decision 3

en pl NO2 Decision 1


pt en

pt en NO2-Decision 1


ro en Decision 1


sk en Decision 1

sk en Decision 2


es en Decision 1

es en Decision 2

es en NO2-Decision 1

es en NO2-Decision 2

es en NO2-Decision 3

United Kingdom 1

en Decision 1

en Decision 2

en NO2-Decision (1)

en NO2- Decision (2)

A Communication from the Commission provided guidance to Member States on the information to be provided and the scope of the conditions. Following the round of PM10 notifications the Commission Services adopted a Staff Working Paper providing further guidelines for the notification of postponements of the deadline to apply the NO2 limit values.

[1] The EU comprised 28 Member States at the time this information refers to.