The National Emissions Ceilings directive, which has been steered through the European legislative process by local MEP Julie Girling over the course of three years, sets limits for five key pollutants in each member state.
The agreement, approved by a vote in the European Parliament, aligns targets for 2020 with international commitments and sets new, more ambitious targets through to 2030, covering sectors including agriculture, transport and industry.
Mrs Girling, MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, has long said poor air quality has a huge impact on human health, the environment and the economy.
During the development of the legislation, Mrs Girling brought the EU’s Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to Bath to discuss the city’s congestion and air-quality problems with residents and academics. (See picture attached)
She said: “I am very happy to see this key piece of legislation take its final step onto the statute books. Poor air quality is an urgent public health issue. Air pollution does not recognize national borders and we must work together with our EU neighbours to tackle it.
“It is estimated to cause 400,000 premature deaths per year across the EU. The agreement will reduce the health impacts of bad air quality by around 50% by 2030.
“The U.K. should be a leader in the fight to tackle bad air quality. I hope, post-brexit, that the UK continues to work with its European partners on issues such as this. With our national health system we bear the economic consequences of bad air quality directly and we should not allow the progress made in recent years to slip.”Follow