Air pollution has been one of European Union's main environmental policy concerns since the late 1970s. Sustained efforts to reduce emissions of air pollutants in the EU enabled broad compliance with several of the commonly agreed EU air quality standards, for example for carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides, lead, and several other pollutants that are harmful for human health.
Despite successes, air pollution remains the number one environmental cause of premature deaths in the European Union: more than 400 000 citizens die prematurely in the EU each year as a result of poor air quality. In 23 out of 28 Member States air quality standards are still being exceeded; in total in over more than 130 cities across Europe.
The European Union is committed to tackling this. EU environmental policy focusses on developing and implementing a clean air policy framework that reinforces national policies for those aspects of the air quality problem that Member States cannot handle effectively or efficiently alone. And it facilitates the implementation and enforcement of measures to meet air quality standards.
Against this backdrop, the Clean Air Forum will focus on three themes:
The Commission has published a draft of the first Clean Air Outlook here. It will be finalised after the Forum and taking into account its discussions