Scientists push for ‘tighter’ European air quality laws


A group of German research scientists have called for new measures to be included in the European Air Quality Directive and a ‘tightening’ of European air quality laws. The scientists argued that the sector needs major investment in research to shed more light on the impact of poor air quality on Europe’s population.

The comments came from a conference in Brussels on 14th May entitled ‘Frontline Research for Improved Air Quality and Climate Action’ which was organised by the Dresden-based Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS). The European Commission is currently reviewing European air quality laws and scientists have called for more stringent targets in order for Member States that are currently breaching ambient air quality levels to recover.

Professor Hartmut Herrmann, head of the chemistry department at TROPOS, said at the conference: “We are consistent with the call for a review of the Directive, which aims at limiting the value for the mass concentration of ultra-fine aerosol particles (PM2.5) to 20μg/m3 from 2013 onwards. By 2020, the limit value of 20μg/m3 could become binding. This is realistic and should therefore be the objective.” Calls for changes to the Air Quality Directive were also made by German MEP Holger Krahmer, who said that the legislation required “steady improvement.”

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