PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 9 October 2007
EU air pollution rules
MEPs vote for greater loopholes in air pollution rules
Following the second reading vote in the EP’s Environment Committee (ENVI) on revising the air quality directive, Finnish Green and Vice-President of the ENVI Committee Satu Hassi said:
“The Environment Committee today voted to create greater loopholes in EU rules on air pollution. MEPs voted to allow Member States to exceed pollutant limit values for a longer period and extended the scope of these derogations to cover all pollutants and future limit values. While MEPs did vote to improve the common position on the air quality directive as regards limit values for the key pollutants PM2.5 and PM10, the derogations approved by the ENVI committee, along with other amendments, have weakened the proposal as a whole.
“Amendments were also adopted for less stringent provisions on short-term action against pollution peaks and to create legal hurdles for local authorities wishing to protect their citizens. Other amendments protecting industrial installations from any further measures were adopted, as well as provisions to weaken the requirements to monitor air quality. So, overall the vote was not positive.
“We hope the Council does not give in and allow these derogations from air quality rules, further delaying the enforcement of limit values. Air pollution is not only the cause of serious illnesses and respiratory problems, it is also a silent killer: there are more than 350,000 premature deaths in the EU each year as a result of air pollution, costing up to 9% of EU25 GDP.”