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Health groups call for positive vote on BREF

Press announcement: Health groups call for positive vote on BREF

HEAL and others seek positive stance on BREF for health

Brussels, 21 April 2017 – Health groups have written to Member State environment and health ministers today urging them to support BREF standards for large combustion plants (LCP BREF). (1) Prior to the Council vote on 28 April, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and others are calling on ministers to protect human health and improve air quality. The letter says that the health-related costs of air pollution in the EU are estimated at between 390 and 940 billion Euros per year. (2)

LCP BREF will be the major instrument for reducing pollutant emissions of around 3,000 large combustion plants in the European Union for years to come. Compared to existing limit values for Europe’s 257 coal-fired power stations, implementation of the new LCP BREF would reduce the health burden by up to 75%. The costs for retrofit measures would be outweighed many times by the benefits to human health, the letter says. (3)

“The health damage resulting from coal fumes today is neither necessary nor inevitable because the means to reduce this pollution already exist. The new regulation will finally require polluters to bear some of the costs that are currently forced on society in the form of illness, health services and lifetime lost,”, says Julia Gogolewska, Senior Health and Energy Policer Officer from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

Other signatories to the letter are European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), European Lung Foundation (ELF) and European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA).

Contact: Ivonne Leenen, Communications, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), email: Tel: +32 2 234 3641

1. Joint HEAL letter: Curbing power plant emissions reduces burden of disease – government position on the new LCP BREF, 28 April 2017.

2. European Commission, Reducing air pollution - National emission ceilings for air pollutants, 20 January 2017

3. HEAL press release: Effective emissions limits could slash deaths from toxic fumes by 85% 11 October 2016

Originally posted on 21 April 2017

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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