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EU Parliament adopts revisions to the Ambient Air Quality Directives

14 September 2023

The European Parliament adopted its position on revisions to the Ambient Air Quality Directives (AAQD) that set stricter 2035 limit and target values for several ambient air pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, NO2, SO2, and O3.

363 MEPs voted in favor, 226 against, and 46 abstained on the vote. The Parliament will now start negotiations with the European Council on the final shape of the law.

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The new rules would align EU air quality standards with the most recent (2021) World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines. They are also intended to help achieve the zero pollution objective by 2050 in line with the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan.

In October 2022, the EU Commission proposed a revision of the EU air quality rules with more ambitious targets for 2030. The text adopted by the Parliament strengthens the air quality standards beyond the Commission’s proposal. It includes two sets of limit and target values: (1) intermediate limit values effective from 2030, based on the Commission’s proposal, and (2) more stringent, final limit values effective from 2035.

One of the key provisions of the revised standards is a tighter annual limit value for PM2.5 of 10 µg/m3 from 2030, and 5 µg/m3 from 2035, down from the current limit of 25 µg/m3. A number of other limit values are also strengthened, including those for NO2, SO2, benzene, benzo(a)pyrene, and several heavy metals.

The adopted text introduces several additional provisions, including:

Source: EU Parliament