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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 11 December 2012

Environment: Give your opinion on how to improve EU air quality policy

The European Commission is holding a public consultation on the best way to improve air quality in Europe. For the next twelve weeks, interested parties are invited to share their views on ways to ensure full implementation of the existing framework, to improve it, and to complement it with supporting actions. The results of the consultation will feed into a comprehensive review of Europe's air policies due in 2013. The consultation is open until 4 March 2013.

Air pollution and the associated threats to the environment and human health continue to be a concern for many EU citizens. Despite progress in the past decades resulting from legislation to reduce harmful pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and benzene, some pollutants are still causing problems. Summer smog, potentially harmful ground-level ozone and fine particles that pose significant health risks regularly exceed safe limits. Consequently, exposure to air pollution still causes over 350,000 premature deaths in the EU every year.

The consultation is divided into two parts – a short questionnaire for the general public, and a more extensive set of questions for experts and practitioners from national administrations, regional and local authorities, researchers, businesses, stakeholders, health, environmental and other groups with experience in implementing EU air quality legislation.

This web-based consultation is part of a broader process designed to involve civil society in the upcoming air policy review. It is the final formal step of the consultation process started by the Commission in January 2011 (see MEMO/11/31), and which has involved regular meetings with Member States and other stakeholders and a first public consultation on the effectiveness of EU air quality policy and priorities for the future (see IP/11/813).

The Commission will also shortly issue the results of a Eurobarometer survey on air quality. Some 25 000 European citizens in 27 Member States have been interviewed to give their views on air quality issues.

Next Steps

Building on two years of in-depth analysis and the results of this extensive consultation process, the Commission will make a proposal on the future of EU air policy by 2013 at the latest.

For more information:

Questionnaire for experts:

Questionnaire for general public:

The consultation can be filled in through:

More details on EU air policy and its review:

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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