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Nitrogen dioxide



To monitor and limit the quantity of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere.

2) ACT

Council Directive 85/203/EEC of 7 March 1985 on air quality standards for nitrogen dioxide [Official Journal L 87 of 27.03.1985].


The Directive specifies, for the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere:

  • a limit value which may not be exceeded throughout the Member States during specified periods;
  • guide values, designed to improve the protection of human health and of the environment.

It also introduces a reference method for analysing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and specifications for the measuring stations established by the Member States.

The limit value had to be complied with as of 1 July 1987, though Member States were allowed temporary exemptions provided they forwarded to the Commission plans for the gradual improvement of air quality.

Member States may fix values more stringent than those laid down in the Directive.

There is a procedure for adapting the Directive to scientific and technical progress.

The Commission must publish regular reports on implementation of the Directive.

On 19 July 2001, the Directive was partly repealed by Directive 1999/30/EC relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air. It will be fully repealed in 2010.

of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States
Directive 85/203/EEC26.03.198501.01.1987


Report COM(2002) 609 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report of 7 November 2002 on the state of implementation of the ambient air quality Directives 80/779/EEC, 82/884/EEC and 85/203/EEC in the period 1997-1999.

The Commission is required to publish this report even though Directive 80/779/EEC is gradually being replaced by Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management and by Directive 1999/30/EC relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air. The three Directives covered by the report set limit values that are not to be exceeded. Table 1 of the report summarises the cases where limit values have been exceeded, expressed as the number of stations where exceedances were observed. Table 2 specifies which Directive 80/779/EEC limit values have been exceeded, as well as the main contributing source category and the measures planned or taken to deal with the problem. Four Member States reported Directive 80/779/EEC exceedances for the period 1997-1999. Most of these concerned suspended particulates. Five Member States reported NO2 exceedances in 1997, three in 1998 and four in 1999. No country reported exceedances of the values for lead.


Last updated: 09.06.2006
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