EP calls for tougher new national caps on air pollutants [EU]

In a press release dated 15 July 2015, the European Parliament (EP) announced that, during its meeting on the same day, the Environment Committee has called, in the context of the proposal for a Directive of 18 December 2013 on the reduction of national emissions of some air pollutants, to more ambitious national caps on emissions of six major pollutants including sulfur dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxides.

What are the requirements of the Committee?

The Committee wishes that the proposed directive on national emission ceilings (NECs) include limits on mercury (HG) from 2020, as well as new limits in all Member States on emissions of dioxide sulfur (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3) and particulate matter (PM2.5) to be reached by 2020 and 2030.

In addition, to ensure progress towards the goals set for 2030, MEPs suggest that midpoint emission targets for 2025 be added to the legislation.

Finally, the Committee also voted to remove the proposal from the European Commission (EC) concerning the flexibility for Member States to compensate for reductions of emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulates from international maritime transport.

To note, the EC indicated, on 12 and 13 March this year, in response to two parliamentary questions, that it will present an amendment to the proposal for a Directive on national emission ceilings for certain pollutants, particularly in order to reduce the administrative burden without compromising the objectives pursued.

Reminder on the decision of the European Commission

As a reminder, Decision (EU) 2015/798 of 11 May 2015 authorised the European Commission (EC) to negotiate, on behalf of the European Union (EU), amendments to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer of 22 March 1985 and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer of 16 September 1987, at the Conference of the Parties to that Convention and at the Meetings of the Parties to that Protocol which will be held in 2015 and 2016.

EHS Legalist Red-on-line

Sources:

Press release of the European Parliament, “Air quality: Environment MEPs call for tougher new national caps on pollutants”, 15 July 2015