Personal tools


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sound and independent information
on the environment

You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Ireland / Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Ireland)

Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Ireland)

Topics: ,
This contribution describes the related key drivers and pressures on air in Ireland.
Air pollution Air pollution
more info
Environmental Protection Agency
Organisation name
Environmental Protection Agency
Reporting country
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
23 Nov 2010
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Environmental Protection Agency
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 23 Nov 2010 original


Air Emissions Nitrogen Oxides

Emissions of NOx are currently well above the 2010 limit in the EU Directive on National Emissions Ceilings and are expected to remain high in the short term, largely due to the difficulty in achieving significant reductions in emissions from road traffic.
Data source
Air Emissions Nitrogen Oxides
Fullscreen image Original link

Drivers & Pressures

Main sources of pollutants

Emissions from road traffic are the main source of many air pollutants harmful to human health, including nitrogen dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals. In Dublin and Cork concentrations of nitrogen dioxide are close to the limit value at monitoring stations near busy roads.

The burning of coal and other solid fuel is also a source of particulate matter and other air pollutants including sulphur dioxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  The ban on bituminous coal in large cities and towns has greatly reduced levels of particulate matter in those areas.  The absence of a ban on bituminous coal in smaller towns means levels of particulate matter there are as high as levels in some cities.

Transboundary Pollution

Air pollution has a transboundary aspect meaning that emissions in one country can cause pollution in a different country.  National emissions ceilings are in place across Europe to control emissions of four key transboundary pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia (NH3).  These pollutants  can contribute to acidification, eutrophication and ozone formation. 

Strategies implemented in Ireland in recent years have substantially reduced emissions of SO2, VOC and NH3, but levels of NOx are expected to remain high in the short term. Large increases in road transport are responsible for high NOx emissions levels. The benefits associated with increased penetration of catalyst control technology have been offset by increases in road traffic.  

Geographic coverage


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

Filed under: ,


European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100