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With the contribution of the LIFE programme of the European Union - LIFE14 ENV/GR/000611 and       the co-financing of Green Fund, Greece

New rules for reducing air pollution

Air pollution is a worldwide problem crossing national borders. It is a matter of international concern; though, governmental and public authorities at all levels should take advantage of Commission’s help in order to take action and make each one of us alert when it comes to adopt green technologies or make use of public transport  or adopt an alternative methodology  in the agriculture sector.

EU approves new rules for Member States to drastically cut air pollution via the new National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive which enters into force on 31 December 2016. EU national emission ceilings are upper limits for total emissions of certain air pollutants that Member States have to respect by a certain date, to push down background concentrations and limit transboundary air pollution. Existing ceilings are ruled by the old NEC Directive (2001/81/EC). 

The main air pollutants regulated by the new NEC is Primary particulate matter (PM),  Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen oxides (NOx), Ammonia (NH3) and Volatile organic compounds (VOC). PM, NOx and VOC are emitted from road vehicles among other activities and can cause respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer as well as increase levels of ground-level ozone (O3).










Reduction of emissions of air pollutants from Transport sector

Source of Figure: Air Quality in Europe 2016 Report (THAL16027ENN.pdf)


According to the new NEC Directive, Member States should incorporate it into national legislation by 2018, while they should also develop and implement National Air Pollution Control Programmes by 2019 in order to achieve air pollutants’ reductions and coherence with national policies for air quality, transport, energy and climate.

Source: European Commission

The LIFE GYM [LIFE14 ENV/GR/000611] project is co-funded by the LIFE programme, the EU financial instrument for the environment.


The sole responsibility for the content of this report lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.


Start Date: 15 September 2015 – Duration: 35 months

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