ERS response following final trilogue agreement on EU air quality standards

ERS response following final trilogue agreement on EU air quality standards - article image

22 February, 2024

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) calls on co-legislators to adopt the final trilogue agreement between the European institutions on the Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD), to ensure cleaner air in Europe for all as soon as possible.

The agreement represents a major milestone in the legislative process aimed at tackling harmful air quality in the European Union (EU). While it is shameful that strong scientific evidence regarding air pollution was not fully followed, if approved by the European Parliament the agreement will make further progress towards cleaner air, which is vitally important not just for respiratory patients but for all citizens.

The deal includes updates on several points, including certain air pollutants and access to justice and right to compensation.

The provisional agreement now must be adopted by the European Parliament and Council, before it is published in the EU’s Official Journal and brought into force (with a two-year transposition timeline).

Although certain provisions were implemented to allow for delays in achieving air quality standards, co-legislators agreed to ensure accountability measures for alignment to the commitments of the Directive. Regular reviews of air quality standards and binding Member States to report and update their air quality roadmaps are important safeguards for countries to stay on track.

Professor Zorana Jovanovic Andersen, ERS Environment and Health Committee Chair, said: “Scientifically it is beyond doubt that air pollution harms health across Europe. Clean air improves lung health, helps prevent new disease and reduces the economic burden of treating respiratory illness.

“Now is the time for politicians, especially from national governments, to ensure we have the legal frame to follow through with science-based EU clean air standards to protect people’s health.”

Read more reaction from health groups across Europe.

Read more about ERS advocacy activities.