The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has taken the first step towards protecting air quality by supporting an ambitious set of compromise amendments to the European Commission’s initial proposal

MEPs have backed science, pushing the EU to achieve WHO air quality standards by 2030, and have laid the foundation for an equally ambitious plenary vote outcome.

Increased ambition   

We welcome the ENVI Committee’s vote to act on air pollution, which is responsible for around 300.000 premature deaths every year in the EU. This vote has increased the ambition of the Commission’s proposal which was first released late last year. The Committee has agreed on:

  • Adopting science-based air quality standards for several pollutants
  • A regular review mechanism to secure continuous alignment with the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines
  • Having harmonised air quality indices allowing all EU citizens to understand the quality of the air they breathe
  • The obligation for all member states to create air quality plans that set out measures to comply with the new standards
  • Fair rules on compensation when citizens are suffering damages caused by air pollution

Margherita Tolotto, Senior Policy Officer for Air Quality and Noise at the European Environmental Bureau said:

“Today’s vote is a clear sign that citizens’ health and environmental protection objectives are stronger than short-term political wins. It shows that good politicians, committed to protecting our loved ones, exist.

Given the necessity for EU laws to drive a much-needed change, we are confident that an even broader consensus in Plenary will be secured: who has the courage to take the responsibility for shortening someone’s life? A vote against good air quality laws is a clear and blatant choice to shorten lives, reduce their quality and destroy our nature.

We believe it is due time for the European Union, including and especially national governments, to do more to secure clean air for all. Civil society will remain attentive to the process and is ready to help to ensure this better future.”

Following today’s vote in the ENVI Committee, all MEPs will have their say on the future of Europe’s air quality laws in a plenary vote in the European Parliament. The EEB calls on all members of the Parliament to take responsibility and support the position taken by the ENVI committee.

ENDS

Notes to editors 

The European Commission published its proposed revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives in 2022, which plan to set interim 2030 EU air quality standards, aligned more closely with World Health Organization guidelines, while putting the EU on a trajectory to achieve zero pollution for air at the latest by 2050, in synergy with climate-neutrality efforts.

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