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Commission decision grants Germany more time to comply with EU air quality

The European Commission has allowed Germany more time to meet the EU legislation on air quality in two regions.

The decision follows applications for temporary exemptions from the EU’s air quality standards, across two regions in North-Rhine Westphalia and Saxony.

This latest Commission decision allows for the exemptions of airborne particulate matter (PM) 10 limit values across five zones across the regions of North-Rhine Westphalia and Saxony until 11 June 2011. PM 10 are mainly emitted by industry, traffic and domestic heating and can contribute to asthma, cardiovascular problems, lung cancer and premature death.

In allowing these exemptions, the Commission now has a position on all zones in Germany known to have been in exceedance of the PM 10 limit values in 2007.

- Air quality legislation

EU air quality legislation (2008/50/EC) sets binding limit values for the maximum permitted concentrations of certain air pollutants. Action to reduce pollution through an air quality plan is required where there is a risk of these standards being exceeded. Since 2008, the EUís Air Quality Directive allows the possibility to grants time extensions to member states to meet the air quality standards under certain conditions.

So far, a total of twenty-two decisions have been made on time extensions for PM 10 concerning 18 Member States. The Commission has allowed for exemptions in fifty four air quality zones across nine Member States, on the condition that member states comply to the standards with the expiry of the time extension.



Written on 23 April 2010.

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