The European Parliament today voted on a proposal to revise EU air quality legislation, setting out national limits on a range of air pollutants. The proposal strengthens the existing rules and extends the limits until 2030. Commenting after the vote, Green environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout said:
"The European Parliament has today given a shot in the arm to this crucial EU law, which aims to reduce a range of health-damaging air pollutants. This vote is all the more significant given EU Commission vice-president Timmermans had tried to shelve the proposal last year. Given the considerable and growing public health impact of air pollution, we would now urge EU governments to take the issue seriously and engage in negotiations with the parliament to try and finalise an ambitious review of this legislation.
"Importantly, MEPs voted to not only support reduction commitments on a range of health damaging pollutants from 2020 to 2030, but also to introduce a binding commitment for 2025, as well as 2030. Thankfully MEPs faced down the farm lobby and voted not to exempt important agricultural pollutants, like methane and ammonia. Research shows agricultural pollutants are the number one cause of air pollution, even in urban areas, and it is crucial this sector is not let off the hook.
"With air pollution leading to up to 450,000 premature deaths in the EU each year, and the number continuing to grow, it is clear that we need tougher regulation to tackle the problem. However, this must also be implemented by EU governments and enforced by the Commission. We would now urge EU governments to proactively engage with the parliament to agree ambitious revised legislation."