Strategies and policies

EU clean air policy aims to improve ambient air quality and tackle air pollution, to protect the environment and human health. More specifically, EU policies aim to: reduce the number of premature deaths and sicknesses caused by air pollution and reduce pollution pressure on ecosystems and biodiversity.


Clean air is essential to our health and to the environment. However, due to human activities causing polluting emissions, air quality has deteriorated considerably. These activities are notably linked to industry, energy production, domestic heating, agriculture and transport.

Air pollution is the number one environmental health problem in the EU and causes serious illnesses such as asthma, cardiovascular problems and lung cancer. Air pollution also damages the environment and ecosystems through excess nitrogen pollution and acid rain. It is also costly for the economy, as it leads to lost working days and high healthcare costs.

To tackle air pollution and achieve the EU’s zero pollution vision for 2050 the EU has a comprehensive clean air policy based on three pillars: ambient air quality standards, reducing  air pollution emissions, and emissions standards for key sources of pollution.

As air quality is a key determining factor for the quality of life in cities, the partnership on air quality works on proposals for better regulation, funding and knowledge in this area.

Main links

Related topics: Industrial emissionsUrban environment  

Related strategies: Commission Communication - A Europe that protects: Clean air for all Zero Pollution Action Plan

Related Commission priorities: European Green Deal

For further info and in case of difficulty with links,  please see:

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Funding opportunities and advice

Programmes and funding opportunities

European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

European Investment Project Portal

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA)

For more information and other funding opportunities, please visit our dedicated funding page.

Advice and technical assistance


Urbis is a new dedicated urban investment advisory platform within the European Investment Advisory Hub. It is set up to provide advisory support to urban authorities to facilitate, accelerate and unlock urban investment projects, programmes and platforms.


ELTIS is Europe's main urban mobility observatory, which facilitates the exchange of information, knowledge and experiences in the field of sustainable urban mobility in Europe.

Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS)

JASPERS is the 'Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions', free of charge for local authorities and promotors, which advices cities and regions on strategic planning in a wide range of sectors. It supports the preparation of projects in areas benefiting from EU funds so they meet all the necessary standards.


fi-Compass is a platform for advisory services on financial instruments and is designed to support European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) managing authorities, Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) microfinance providers and other interested parties, by providing practical know-how and learning tools on financial instruments.


European Green Capital Award (EGCA)

European Green Leaf (EGL)


European Mobility Week Award

Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning

The European Capital of Innovation Awards 

Project examples

LIFE Project database

REGIO project database

Horizon 2020 database

Testing and development of air-quality mitigation measures in Southern Europe.

CLEAN AIR - Clean air in Cities
Effective implementation of Air Quality Directive: networks of regional and local administrations and NGOs, capacity-building and awareness-raising.

Community-based environmental monitoring and information system focused on urban air pollution.

Urban Innovative Actions - Projects related to Air Quality

EU legislation

Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe,

Directive on arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air

Directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants