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Last Friday, 17 March 2023, health groups asked members of the EP ENVI committee to step up on clean air for health with science-based air quality standards. 

This comes ahead of a debate scheduled in the environment committee on the ambient air quality directive revision, taking place this Wednesday 22 March 2023 at 9 o’clock.

The latest science, published since the updated WHO Air Quality Guidelines, underlines that air pollution is harmful at much lower levels than previously thought, and that there is no safe level of air pollution. This underlines the urgency to act to clean up the air that we breathe, especially to protect those who are most at risk.

If you are following the political developments on the EU air quality standards, here are three key points to look out for in the debate, which from our perspective will be a make or break for greater health protection in the AAQD:

Will the EP environment committee continue to push for the highest level of ambition, meaning:

  • go for full alignment of EU air quality standards with WHO recommendations and latest science by 2030 at the latest and,
  • support and prioritise legally binding limit values?

Will the EP environment committee express support  to protect vulnerable groups, to protect everyone, by

  • including a comprehensive definition of vulnerable and susceptible groups in accordance with the WHO, and
  • strengthening public information on air quality as a public health measure that prevents and protects

Will the EP environment committee ensure the most health-protective enabling framework, by

  • closing the risk of compliance delays and exemptions with limit values associated with the numerous options for postponement in the current version of the text,
  • increase the density and representativity of monitoring stations, and
  • supporting an independent review of the evidence regularly carried out by the WHO?


Full letter here

HEAL’s reaction on the publication of the European Commission’s proposal

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