European Parliament wants stronger ozone directive

In second reading of ozone directive, European Parliament calls for stricter rules to limit ozone levels in ambient air

The main issues in the debate are:

  • target values to be achieved before 2010: 120 microgrammes/m³ not to be succeeded for 20 days (EP) or 25 days (Council)
  • long-term objectives: 120 microgrammes/m³ to be reached by 2020 (EP) or “within a foreseeable time period” (Commission)
  • short-term measures to be taken by Member States once the threshold is exceeded
  • involvement of accession candidate countries


Commissioner Wallström made it clear in the debate that she could not accept the amendment reducing the maximum number of days exposure to ozone to 20 days. She also said that it was outside the scope of the legislation to involve candidate countries.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the Parliament's stronger stance on the issue of but expressed disappointment over its rejection of amendments which sought to improve the dissemination of information to citizens, and others which assessed the reduction potential of short-term plans.

In its second reading of the ozone directive on Wednesday 13 June, the European Parliament called for stricter rules to limit ozone levels in the ambient air. MEPs backed proposals put forward by rapporteur Chris Davies, ELDR, UK) to reduce the number of days on which ozone levels can exceed WHO recommendations to 20 instead of 25.


Ground-level ozone, or summer smog, has serious negative effects on human health, ecosystems and vegetation.

The draft ozone directive (a daughter directive of the EU's 1996 air quality framework directive) limits the amount of ground-level ozone to 120 micrograms per cubic metre. The aim is to achieve these limits by 2010. Under the Council's common position, Member States would be allowed to exceed these limits 25 times a year (the Commission had proposed 20 days).



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