Air pollution - National Responses (Switzerland)
- Air pollution
Since the air pollution control legislation entered into force, the Confederation, the cantons and municipalities have adopted a raft of measures. These include at federal level strict emission rules for heating systems, industrial facilities and motorised vehicles, as well as quality standards for fuels. In addition, incentive instruments such as the mileage-related heavy vehicle tax (MRHVT) or the levy on volatile organic compounds (VOC) have been introduced. Furthermore, public transport is supported vigorously.
Additional measures with lasting effect need to be taken. These include deploying the best available technology in vehicles and facilities, and establishing more economic incentive instruments such as the CO2 levy on fossil fuels that was introduced on 1 January 2008. The 2006 action plan against particulate matter requires particle filters for diesel vehicles of the public transport sector as well as for building machinery and also more stringent emission limit values for particulate matter from wood-burning systems and industrial facilities. With these measures, Switzerland has taken a further, substantial step to reduce emissions of air pollutants. With its updated clean-air strategy of 11 September 2009, the Swiss Federal Council has presented a set of abatement measures for further assessment and development of proposals for later decisions. These measures address all the sectors that emit air pollutants (industry, combustion facilities, transport and agriculture) and include regulations as well as incentives. Furthermore it is essential to continue to use existing incentive instruments such as the MRHVT and the levy on VOC.
In addition, air pollution needs to be reduced through sustained measures taken in other countries. Therefore, further efforts must be made at the international level (notably under the UNECE Geneva Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution).
These measures should make it possible for most air pollutants to reach the Swiss air quality standards as well as internationally adopted critical loads and levels by the year 2020, in order to satisfy the requirements of human health and environmental protection.
ARE/FOEN 2008: Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Externe Kosten des Verkehrs in der Schweiz, Aktualisierung für das Jahr 2005 mit Bandbreiten, Zusammenfassung, Bern, 2008.