National Emission Ceilings Directive

The National Emission Ceilings Directive sets national emission reduction commitments for Member States and the EU for five important air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). These pollutants contribute to poor air quality, leading to significant negative impacts on human health and the environment.

Introduction

A new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive (2016/2284/EU) entered into force on 31 December 2016. Replacing earlier legislation, (Directive 2001/81/EC), the new NEC Directive sets 2020 and 2030 emission reduction commitments for five main air pollutants. It also ensures that the emission ceilings for 2010 set in the earlier directive remain applicable for Member States until the end of 2019.

The new directive transposes the reduction commitments for 2020 agreed by the EU and its Member States under the 2012 revised Gothenburg Protocol under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention). The more ambitious reduction commitments agreed for 2030 are designed to reduce the health impacts of air pollution by half compared with 2005.

Further, the Directive requires that the Member States draw up National Air Pollution Control Programmes that should contribute to the successful implementation of air quality plans established under the EU’s Air Quality Directive.

Reporting by Member States

The NEC Directive highlights the importance of Member States regularly reporting air pollutant emission inventories for assessing progress in reducing air pollution in the EU and for ascertaining whether Member States are in compliance with their commitments.

The new directive introduces a number of new reporting requirements for Member States. These are defined in Annex I of the directive and include annual information on emissions of a number of pollutants:

  • the five main air pollutants NOx, NMVOCs, SO2, NH3 and PM2.5 as well as carbon monoxide (CO);
  • in addition to PM2.5, also PM10 particulate matter and, if available, black carbon (BC) and total suspended particulate matter (TSP);
  • heavy metals cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) and, if available, the additional heavy metals arsenic, chromium, copper, nickel, selenium and zinc);
  • persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins and furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

The various reporting obligations and deadlines for reporting are summarised below.

Air pollutant emissions and projections:

  • Emission inventories – by 15 February 2017 and every year thereafter;
  • Informative Inventory Report (IIR) – by 15 March 2017 and every year thereafter;
  • Emission projections – by 15 March 2017 and every two years thereafter;
  • Spatially-disaggregated emissions (gridded emissions) – by 1 May 2017 and every four years thereafter;
  • Large point source (LPS) emissions – by 1 May 2017 and every four years thereafter;
  • National air pollution control programmes – by 1 April 2019 and every four years thereafter.

Monitoring of impacts:

  • Location of monitoring sites and indicators – by 1 July 2018 and every four years thereafter;
  • Selected monitoring data – by 1 July 2019 and every four years thereafter.

 

To help ensure that information on emissions reported by Member States is consistent and harmonised with international requirements, the NEC Directive requires Member States to follow the methodologies agreed upon by the UNECE LRTAP Convention. It also requires that Member States use the EMEP/EEA air pollutant emission inventory guidebook in preparing their inventories.

Flexibilities

The new NEC Directive establishes a number of flexibilities (Article 5) that Member States may request are applied for the purposes of assessing compliance with their emission reduction commitments.

This includes an ‘adjustment’ process, in which Member States may ‘adjust’ downwards their emission inventories if non-compliance with the national ceilings is caused by countries having applied improved emission inventory methods in accordance with updated scientific knowledge since the time the 2010 ceilings were originally set. Member States wishing to adjust their data in this way must first notify the European Commission (EC) by 15 February each year, and subsequently submit a range of documentation (by 15 March each year) for review and decision by the European Commission.

Annual status report and NECD data

Each year, EEA supported by its European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) compiles and checks the data reported by Member States under the NEC Directive.

In addition:

  • An annual status briefing is prepared that summarises the most recent reported data and progress of Member States and the EU in meeting their emission ceiling obligations; see the latest status reports below.
  • Data are made available in an online data viewer and as a downloadable data set (to be published soon).

NEC Directive reporting status 2017 - The need to reduce air pollution in Europe

Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, and can cause respiratory problems and shorten lifespans. It also contributes to the acidification of soil and surface water, causes eutrophication in sensitive habitats and can damage vegetation through exposure to ozone.

NEC Directive reporting status 2017 - The need to reduce air pollution in Europe - Read More…

NEC Directive reporting status 2017 - The need to reduce air pollution in Europe

NEC Directive reporting status 2017 - The need to reduce air pollution in Europe

Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, and can cause respiratory problems and shorten lifespans. It also contributes to the acidification of soil and surface water, causes eutrophication in sensitive habitats and can damage vegetation through exposure to ozone (EEA, 2016).

NEC Directive reporting status 2017 - The need to reduce air pollution in Europe - Read More…

NEC Directive reporting status 2015

NEC Directive reporting status 2015

As of 2010, all European Union Member States are required to meet their emission ceilings set for main air pollutants in Directive 2001/81/EC. The briefing presents preliminary data reported for 2014 and final data for 2010-2013.

NEC Directive reporting status 2015 - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2015

Reporting by Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

NEC Directive status report 2015 - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2014

Reporting by Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

NEC Directive status report 2014 - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2013

Reporting by Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

NEC Directive status report 2013 - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2012

Reporting by the Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

NEC Directive status report 2012 - Read More…

Evaluation of progress under the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive

This report considers whether the EU has successfully addressed environmental and health objectives for 2010, set out when the National Emission Ceilings Directive was adopted in 2001. Certain objectives appear to be met according to the original scientific understanding used to inform the directive. But when using the improved scientific understanding of air pollution now available, it is clear that emissions need to be even further reduced to protect health and the environment.

Evaluation of progress under the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2011

Reporting by the Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

NEC Directive status report 2011 - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2010

Reporting by the Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

NEC Directive status report 2010 - Read More…

NEC Directive status report 2009

Reporting by the Member States under Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants.

NEC Directive status report 2009 - Read More…

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See also

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