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Several EU Member States to miss 2010 air pollutant targets

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A number of EU Member States are likely to miss legally-binding 2010 emission targets for four important air pollutants, according to the 'NEC Directive status report 2006' from the EEA. The report is based on the latest data officially reported by Member States under the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive).

The NEC Directive requires all Member States to report information concerning air emissions for four pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants can harm human health and the environment.

The NEC Directive sets pollutant-specific and legally-binding emission ceilings (targets) for each country to be met by 2010. It also lays down the requirements for the Member States to annually report their latest air emission data and their projected emission estimates for the year 2010. Each year the EEA publishes a summary of this information.

The most recent data shows that only 11 Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom) presently expect to meet their respective national ceilings defined in the Directive. The remaining thirteen Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) project to miss ceilings for at least one of the four pollutants if additional actions to reduce emissions are not taken.

Seven of the latter countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and Sweden) are considering implementing 'additional' actions in order to meet the 2010 targets. The ceiling for NOx appears to be the most challenging for countries to meet, with 11 Member States indicating that, without taking additional measures, they will not reach their ceilings by 2010.

Luxembourg did not report data, while Bulgaria and Romania were not members of the European Union when the latest data was reported.

Link:

EEA Technical report No 15/2007: NEC Directive status report 2006

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