The high summer temperatures are leading to potentially harmful ground-level ozone concentrations in several Member States, giving rise to new calls for a stricter EU policy on air pollution.
The exceptionally warm August of 2003 is putting the ground level ozone issue back on the political agenda. In several countries, levels of over 200 microgrammes per cubic metre ozone concentration were measured in recent days. In France, the authorities of Paris, Strasbourg and Lyon took emergency measures to reduce speed limits or cut bus fares to promote public transport. In Germany, several environmental organisations called for similar emergency measures, but Green Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin refused to introduce driving restrictions as these would not solve the problems in the short run.
Most national authorities pointed to the fact that the ozone smog is a transboundary problem with winds driving the ozone pollution across borders.