Zones in relation to EU air quality thresholds
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Information is reported for the zones designated under the Framework Directive on ambient air quality (96/62/EC). Commission Decision 2004/461/EC provides a questionnaire to be used by the Member States for the annual reporting under the Framework Directive and the related four Daughter Directives 1999/30/EC, 2000/69/EC, 2002/3/EC and 2004/107/EC. Member States have to divide their entire territory into zones. Zones can be regarded as the primary territorial units for assessment and management of air quality under the air quality directives. Consequently, unambiguous definition of all zones is needed. Member States have employed different approaches for the definition of their zones. Some Member States have divided their territory into a single set of zones serving all pollutants. Other Member States have defined a single base set of zones and modified some of the zones for the application to particular pollutants. Where a Member State has distinguished different sets of zones in relation to health protection and ecosystem/vegetation protection respectively, a single location can be situated in several zones, e.g. in a zone defined for all pollutants except lead and in another, larger zone defined for lead.
More information about EU air quality standards is available on the DG Environment web site at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/quality/standards.htm.
Pursuant to Article 22 of Directive 2008/50/EC, Member States may notify to 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 being exempt from the limit values for PM10. More information is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/quality/legislation/time_extensions.htm .
Additional information is available in The annual technical overview and analysis of the reports submitted by Member States.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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