ISEE – ERS Commentary on the proposed EU Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD)

The European Commission published a proposal to revise the AAQD in October 2022. The European Parliament and the Council are currently considering the proposal.
The proposal includes important steps to achieve cleaner air but falls short of what is ultimately needed to maximize public health benefits, for the reasons explained in the ISEE-ERS Commentary.
We call for more ambition and a clear path in the AAQD toward complete alignment with the 2021 WHO AQG for PM2.5, NO2 and ozone by 2030. Specifically, we call for limit values of 5 and 10 μg/m3 for annual PM2.5 and NO2, respectively, with the addition of a limit value of 60 μg/m3 for long-term (warm season) ozone.
More effort is needed to decrease inequalities in health burdens from air pollution since the current proposed average exposure reduction obligations will not adequately protect marginalized communities. We further caution to be wary of delays in complying with limit values and of the deduction of “natural” source contributions, which are only expected to increase due to climate change.
The robust and stronger associations with mortality and morbidity at very low levels of air pollution underscore the large untapped potential for additional health benefits in Europe and should provide impetus for the European Commission, European Parliament, and the Council to be bold in its ambitions. Moreover, we encourage governments, local authorities and other bodies to continue to exert effort to improve air quality, even if the current and proposed EU limit values have been met.

Read the commentary in full here: