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New EU's Clean Air Policy Package at the end of the end of the “Year of Air“


The European Commission declared 2013 the "Year of Air". Comprehensive reviews of the EU air policies are aimed at finding ways to improve the quality of air. The most densely populated EU areas fail to meet certain air quality standards (such as the levels of particulate matter, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide). The Commission states that the poor quality of air is the number one environmental cause of premature deaths in the EU responsible for more casualties than road traffic accidents. Air pollution causes breathing and other problems.
In an effort to address environmental pollution and health problems, the Commission adopted new EU air policy measures to reduce air pollution on 18 December. The proposal is based on the conclusions of a comprehensive review of existing EU air quality policy.

The package adopted by the Commission has a number of components, including:

- a proposal for a new Clean Air Programme for Europe with measures to ensure that existing targets are met and new air quality objectives for the period up to 2030;

- a proposal for amendments to the Directive on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants in view of modified international documents;

- a proposal for a new Directive to reduce pollution from medium-sized (1–50 MW) combustion installations;

- a proposal for the adoption of amendments to the Protocol to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone.

According to the Commission, by 2030, and compared to business as usual, the clean air policy package is estimated to:
- avoid 58,000 premature deaths;

- save 123,000 km2 of ecosystems from nitrogen pollution (more than half the area of Romania);

- save 56,000 km2 of protected Natura 2000 areas (more than the entire area of Croatia) from nitrogen pollution;

- save 19,000 km2 of forest ecosystems from acidification.

The Commission plans to present the clean air policy package to the Council on 8 January 2014.

Public Information Division

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas