The European Parliament's environment committee, on 9 October, voted to tighten air pollution thresholds in ambient air, setting the stage for another clash with the Council later this year (EurActiv 24/10/06).
The main elements of Parliament's second-reading recommendation are:
- The introduction, in 2010, of a non-binding target value of 20 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) for PM2.5 (the finest particles, which do the most damage to people's lungs). This target, which is lower than the Council's proposed 25µg/m3, would then become a binding limit value as of 2015;
- the reduction of maximum concentration levels of larger particles, known as PM10, to an annual average of 33µg/m3, rather than leaving them unchanged at 40µg/m3, as suggested in the Council's common position;
- the possibility of postponing attainment of limit values, not only for PM10 as suggested by the Council, but also for all other pollutants, for up to five years.
The report adopted by the environment committee argues that short-term action should instead be achieved by binding measures to reduce atmospheric pollution from the source, and calls on the Commission to adopt legislation on cutting particulate matter emissions from domestic heating equipment, farming and motor vehicles, including boats and aircraft within two years of the entry into force of the directive.