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Environment Council discusses the EU clean air package

At their recent meeting in Luxembourg, EU environment ministers held an exchange on proposed measures to improve air quality in Europe. HEAL is concerned by the low level of ambition expressed by some member states.

The EU Commission presented its clean air package in December 2013. It includes the proposal for the revision of the EU’s National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC), and for a Directive to regulate emissions from medium-scale combustion plants. The aim is to reduce emissions for the protection of human health and the environment. The programme was presented to the Council in March 2014.

At the meeting, several EU environment ministers expressed concerns on the emission limit values proposed for medium-scale combustion and on the ambition level of the NEC Directive. These remarks show a worrying lack of commitment to improve air quality in Europe.

As the assessment by the European Commission shows, air pollution is responsible for nearly half a million premature deaths each year, with associated health costs of up to 940 billion EUR. If all the proposals by the Commission were achieved in 2030, the improvement for health would still be only 50% compared to the situation in 2005. Given that EU member states have committed to achieving clean air in Europe, HEAL thinks the Commission’s proposal should be strengthened, and urges EU ministers not to miss this crucial opportunity for improving citizens’ health.

Originally posted on 26 June 2014

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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