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EU Environment Ministers water down draft NEC law

In December, EU Environment Ministers adopted their position on the draft National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC), reducing the level of ambition of the new law and allowing greater flexibility on emission caps. Negotiations with the EP will now take place under the Dutch EU Presidency.

HEAL regrets the outcome of the ministers deliberations, as they are a step backwards from the already modest EU Commission proposal. The National Emissions Ceilings Directive is a key EU law to reduce pollution where it starts – at the source – and the only instrument that addresses transboundary air pollution. Over 400,000 people die premature each year in the EU because of air pollution, and the health costs from polluted air are amount to up to 940 billion EUR for the year 2010 alone.

A letter by 17 health organisations including HEAL, representing thousands of health professionals and affected European citizens unfortunately went unheard. The organisations had put forward 4 demands to EU environment ministers including raising the ambition level, rejecting unnecessary flexibilities and keeping methane and mercury in the list of pollutants for emission caps.

Negotiations between the Council, the European Parliament and the EU Commission will now take place under the Dutch EU Presidency.

Further information:

Originally posted on 26 January 2016

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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 »


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