What is the Fitness Check of AAQ?

There is an ongoing (2018) fitness check of the two Ambient Air Quality Directives (AAQ) (Directives 2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC) initiated by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment (assisted by consultants such as Milieu and Eunomia). They are being reviewed because they have been in force over 10 years now (Commission, 2011). The fitness check centres on five evaluation criteria; relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value (as outlined in the Better Regulation agenda). The findings of the fitness check will inform a review of the AAQ deciding if they are fit for purpose and continue to protect the citizens of the EU, and their environment, from harm.

This fitness check process has had the following recommendations from public consultations (EC, 2018):

  • Achieve existing limit standards as soon as possible and update standards to be in line with new WHO guidelines when published;
  • Clarify requirements for AQ plans (include low emission zones LEZ);
  • Provide clear guidance on monitoring networks (number of sites and positioning) and on citizen science projects;
  • Revise the alert system to identify effective systems and ensure best practice is put in place by all member states;
  • Enforce Euro standards for cars across all Member States and remove non-compliant cars from the market;
  • Remove subsidies for polluting activities (i.e. diesel tax break in Ireland);
  • Ensure all Members meet NEC Directive ceilings;
  • Promote increased public participation and raise awareness about air pollution;
  • Pursue timely infringement procedures where there is non-compliance with the AAQ Directives.

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