The first new ambient air quality limit values under the 1996
Framework Directive on Ambient Air Quality Assessment and
Management have been proposed for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide,
lead and particulates.
Proposed standards will follow over the next few
years for other air pollutants, including ozone, benzene, carbon
monoxide and heavy metals. Member States will be required to take
action to ensure that these standards are achieved by the target
dates set in the Directive: 2005 for sulphur dioxide and lead; and
2010 for nitrogen oxide and particulates.
The Commission estimates that 10% reductions in
sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will be required to
meet these limits on top of the reductions that will be achieved by
current and pending EU legislation. In some European cities,
particulate emissions may have to be reduced by up to 50% to comply
with the new standards.