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Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, COM(2005) 447 final

Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV


In the context of its "Better Regulation" initiative in June 2002, the Commission proposed in February 2003 a policy for updating and simplifying the Community acquis. This aimed at securing a clear, understandable, up-to-date and user-friendly body of EC secondary law. Following on from this initiative, the current proposal aims to merge the provisions of five separate legal instruments into a single directive with the intention of simplifying, streamlining and reducing the volume of existing legislation. In addition the proposal aims to revise substantially the existing provisions so as to incorporate the latest health and scientific developments and the experience of the Member States.
Air pollution has long been recognised as posing a significant risk to human health and the environment. In 1996 the Air Quality Framework Directive was adopted which established a Community framework for the assessment and management of ambient air quality in the EU. The Framework Directive also provided a list of priority pollutants for which air quality objectives would be established in daughter legislation. There have subsequently been four daughter directives in respect of particular pollutants and a Council Decision to bring about the reciprocal exchange of air quality monitoring information.
The impact assessment accompanying this proposal has estimated the damage costs due to human exposure to particulate matter and ozone in ambient air. In the year 2000, exposure to particulate matter was estimated to reduce average statistical life expectancy by approximately nine months in the EU-25. This equates to approximately 3.6 million life years lost or 348 000 premature mortalities per annum. In addition, it has been estimated that there were some 21 400 cases of hastened death due to ozone.

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