Opinion factsheet

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    Clean Air Policy Package

    BGCSDADEELENESETFIFRHRHUITLTLVMTNLPLPTROSKSLSV
    : CDR 1217/2014
    : LAMERS, Cor
    : EPP (European People's Party)
    : ENVE
    : Adopted
    : 07/10/2014
    welcomes in the main the approach of the Clean Air Programme for Europe to tackle sources of pollution; concludes yet that there is still a considerable mismatch between European emissions and immissions policies in terms of either timeframe or ambition which needs to be resolved;
    proposes therefore an approach whereby Member States are given a longer conditional “clean-up period” that takes account of the timescales in which the Commission's proposed source-based policy is expected to produce results. The conditions would include establishing a “clean-up programme” comprising measures aiming to meet the air quality standards;
    calls for the proposed national emission reduction commitments for 2030 at least to remain unchanged and calls for reduction commitments to be strengthened further where possible; interim targets for 2025 that are as binding as those for 2020 and 2030 should be set, and the proposed flexibility mechanisms must not be used as an excuse for not intervening if the impact of the policy is disappointing;
    considers ambitious targets for medium combustion plants to be extremely important in achieving the targets in the national emission reduction commitments and the Ambient Air Quality Directive, but calls for a critical examination of the proposed requirements on registration and monitoring in view of their administrative costs for authorities and businesses; also suggests in view of feasibility and proportionality looking into additional differentiation options for the plants;
    Impact report 2015:
    Directive (EU) 2015/2193 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants
    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1454507738101&uri=CELEX:32015L2193

    The directive as adopted by the European Parliament and the Council includes several changes compared to the initial proposal, which reflect the CoR's recommendations. The Directive now:
    • obliges Member States to monitor the carbon monoxide emissions of medium combustion plants. By 1 January 2023, the Commission shall assess whether for certain or all types of medium combustion plants there is a need to regulate CO emissions.
    • introduces differentiated emission limit value and monitoring regimes for existing and for new combustion plants, and based on their size
    • foresees that extended compliance deadlines until 2030 may be granted to some plants, in particular to district heating systems, plants firing biomass as their main fuel, plants being part of small isolated systems (for instance, on islands), specific plants linked to a national gas transmission system.
    • requires the European Commission to organise an exchange of information with Member States, the industries concerned and non-governmental organisations on the emission levels achievable with best available and emerging technologies and the related costs.

    Moreover, reflecting the calls of the CoR opinion to align EU source-based emission policies with air quality legislation, the directive foresees that In zones or parts of zones not complying with the air quality limit values laid down in Directive 2008/50/EC, Member States shall assess the need to apply, for individual medium combustion plants in those zones or parts of zones, stricter emission limit values than those set out in this Directive, as part of the development of air quality plans referred to in Article 23 of Directive 2008/50/EC.

    Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants and amending Directive 2003/35/EC

    The ordinary legislation procedure on this proposal is still ongoing. The impact of the CoR opinion in relation to this proposal can therefore not yet finally be analysed. The European Parliament and the Council aim at a 1st reading agreement.

    On 28 October 2016, the European Parliament had a partial vote at 1st reading, and adopted some first amendments to the proposal. The vote on the legislative resolution has been put back to a later session.

    In line with the key recommendations and amendments of the CoR Opinion, the European Parliament amendments:
    • introduce binding interim emission reduction targets for 2025, except for anthropogenic emissions of methane (CH4);
    • Maintain, and even reinforce, the provisions in Article 6, which foresee that Member States in their National Air Pollution Control Programmes have to align their emission reductions and source policy measures with reaching compliance with the air quality standards that local and regional authorities have to meet under the Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC.

    In line with the general call of the CoR opinion for a more ambitious EU emissions/source based policy, which supports EU air quality standards policy and its implementation by local and regional authorities, the European Parliament amendments introduce several new, detailed obligations, e.g.:
    the obligations in Article 6 for Member States in their National Air Pollution Control Programmes to prioritise specific policy measures which aim at reducing risks to the health of vulnerable groups of people and to ensure compliance with the exposure reduction target established in accordance with Directive 2008/50/EC (AM 46); and to consult, with the relevant local or regional authorities responsible for implementing emission abatement policies in specified zones and/or agglomerations (AM 59),
    the European Commission shall ensure that all EU source-based air pollution policies are fit for purpose and contribute towards reaching the EU's air quality objectives (AM 124);
    where the European Commission report under Article 11 indicates that Member States are unable to comply with Union law and the air quality limit values laid down in Directive 2008/50/EC, the European Commission shall (a) assess whether the non-achievement is the result of ineffective EU source-based air pollution policy, including its implementation at Member State level, (b) and identify where there is a need for new source legislation and, where appropriate, present legislative proposals so to ensure compliance with the targets of this Directive (AM 79);
    insertion in Annex III, Part 1 on the measures which may be included in the National Air Pollution Control Programmes, of a new section "Measures to control emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter in urban areas", with a list of measures at urban scale, as supported by the CoR opinion, to be considered by the Member States, in consultation with local and regional authorities, in the programmes (AM 108);
    specification in Annex III, Part 2 on the minimum content of National Air Pollution Control Programmes, for the assessment of how selected policies and measures ensure coherence with plans and programmes set up in other relevant policy areas, have to cover coherence with air quality plans under Directive 2008/50/EC (AM 114), and that updates of the National Air Pollution Control Programmes, must include information on all additional air pollution abatement measures that have been considered at appropriate local, regional or national level for implementation in connection with the attainment of air quality objectives of Directive 2008/50/EC (AM 118)

    Moreover, the European Parliament introduces the obligation for the European Commission to set up a European Clean Air Forum to facilitate the coordinated implementation of the Clean Air Programme, bringing together all relevant actors including the Member States’ competent authorities at all relevant levels (AM 82).

    Contrary however to the CoR opinion, the European Parliament:
    weakens the ambition levels of the national emission reductions, by exempting emissions of enteric methane produced by ruminant livestock from the reductions of anthropogenic emissions of methane (CH4);
    deletes the proposed flexibilities allowing Member States to offset certain emission reductions achieved by internal maritime traffic (the CoR overall supported the flexibility mechanisms).

    Impact report 2016:
    In addition to the impact reported already for 2015, the opinion had the following impact:

    The President of the EP and by the President of the Council signed on 14 December 2016 the final Directive of the European Parliament and Council on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants, amending Directive 2003/35/EC and repealing Directive 2001/81/EC.

    The final Directive is overall of a lower ambition than the CoR and the EP in its 1st reading had called for. With the emission reductions agreed in the Directive, the health impact of air pollution is estimated to be reduced by about 50% in 2030 (compared to 2005). The European Commission initial proposal aimed at 52%.

    In line with the CoR Opinion, the adopted new Directive maintained the provision proposed by the European Commission in Article 6, which foresees that Member States in their National Air Pollution Control Programmes have to take account of the need to reduce air pollutant emissions for the purpose of reaching compliance with air quality objectives under the Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC in their territories and, where appropriate, in neighbouring Member States.

    In line with the general call of the CoR opinion for a more ambitious EU emissions/source based policy, which supports EU air quality standards policy and its implementation by local and regional authorities, the final Directive includes, compared to the initial EC proposal, the new obligations for the European Commission:
    in its reports under Article 11 to also report on progress towards ambient air quality levels in line with the air quality guidelines published by the World Health Organisation;
    where the European Commission reports under Article 11indicate that the non-achievement of the indicative emission levels and emission reduction commitments could be the result of ineffective Union source-based air pollution control legislation, including its implementation at Member State level, the obligation for the European Commission to investigate, where appropriate, the need for further action also considering the sectoral impacts of implementation. Where appropriate, the European Commission shall present legislative proposals, including new source-based air control pollution legislation, in order to ensure compliance with the commitments of the Directive;

    Moreover, the final Directive, following amendments introduced by the EP, provides with:
    the new Article 7, which foresees that the European Commission shall endeavour to facilitate access to existing Union funds, in order to support the measures to be taken with a view to complying with the objectives of the Directive, and shall evaluate the possibility of creating a one-stop shop, where any interested party can easily check the availability of Union funds, and the related access procedures, for projects which address air pollution concerns;
    the new Article 12, which requests the European Commission set up a European Clean Air Forum to provide input for guidance and facilitate the coordinated implementation of Union legislation and policies related to improving air quality, bringing together all stakeholders including competent authorities of the Member States at all relevant levels, the Commission, industry, civil society, and the scientific community at regular intervals.

    Contrary however to the CoR opinion, the final Directive:
    weakens the scope of the national emission reductions, by excluding methane (CH4);
    does not include binding interim targets for 2025, only indicative emission levels for 2025 which will be identified for each member state.
    THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



    - welcomes in the main the approach of the Clean Air Programme for Europe to tackle sources of pollution; concludes yet that there is still a considerable mismatch between European emissions and immissions policies in terms of either timeframe or ambition which needs to be resolved;

    - proposes therefore an approach whereby Member States are given a longer conditional “clean-up period” that takes account of the timescales in which the Commission's proposed source-based policy is expected to produce results. The conditions would include establishing a “clean-up programme” comprising measures aiming to meet the air quality standards;

    - calls for the proposed national emission reduction commitments for 2030 at least to remain unchanged and calls for reduction commitments to be strengthened further where possible; interim targets for 2025 that are as binding as those for 2020 and 2030 should be set, and the proposed flexibility mechanisms must not be used as an excuse for not intervening if the impact of the policy is disappointing;

    - considers ambitious targets for medium combustion plants to be extremely important in achieving the targets in the national emission reduction commitments and the Ambient Air Quality Directive, but calls for a critical examination of the proposed requirements on registration and monitoring in view of their administrative costs for authorities and businesses; also suggests in view of feasibility and proportionality looking into additional differentiation options for the plants.
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Importance

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Medium
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2016
 

Council and EP sign new NEC Directive

The Council and EP sign the new NEC Directive (Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants, amending Directive 2003/35/EC and repealing Directive 2001/81/EC)

 
14 Dec
2015
 

CoR Commission activity

CoR Environment commission calls for stricter EU emission limits and proper compensation,

 
19 Nov
 

European Parliament

ENVI Committee vote on review NEC Directive

 
14 Jul
 

European Parliament

Trilogue reaches agreement on directive on limitation of emissions from medium-sized combustion plants

 
22 Jun
 

European Parliament

ENVI Committee vote on Proposal Directive on limitation of emissions from medium-sized combustion plants

 
05 May
 

Rapporteur's activities

CoR Rapporteur plans to meet the Latvian Presidency (date tbc)

 
31 Jan
2014
 

Council

The Environment Council adopts general approach on the proposal for the Directive on limitation of emissions from medium combustion plants.The Council also underlines the need to keep working on all the elements of the clean air package.

 
16 Dec
 

European Commission

European Commission adopts its Work Programme 2015.The proposal for the revision of the NEC Directive (COM/2013/0920) is included in Annex 2 as a modification of pending proposals.The document states: "To be modified as part of the legislative follow-up to the 2030 Energy and Climate Package"

 
15 Dec
 

CoR Commission activity

Letter by CoR ENVE Commission Chair and CoR Rapporteur to EC President Juncker calling for retaining the EC legislative proposals.

 
04 Dec
 

CoR Commission activity

CoR President sends letter to EC President Juncker on the EC work programme 2015. The letter requests the European Commission to maintain the legislative proposals.

 
27 Nov
 

CoR Commission activity

CoR publishes a leaflet summarising the opinion.

 
06 Nov
 

CoR Commission activity

CoR ENVE Commission conference "Local and regional strategies on climate change and their contribution to an improved air quality" , Bologna

 
16 Oct
 

CoR Commission activity

Follow-up letters and emails on the CoR adoption are sent to all EU institutions and stakeholders

 
14 Oct
 

CoR Commission activity

The CoR Plenary session adopts the final opinion

 
06 Oct
 

CoR Commission activity

CoR draft opinion transferred to EP rapporteur Girling

 
21 Sep
 

CoR Commission activity

The ENVE commission adopts CoR draft opinion on "Clean Air Policy Package"

 
18 Jun
 

Council

Political debate in the Council

 
11 Jun
 

CoR Stakeholder Consultation

Targeted consultation aimed at understanding the different positions on the issues covered by the opinion.

 
07 May
 

CoR Commission activity

ENVE commission first exchange of views.

 
23 Apr
 

European Parliament

ENVI Committee holds first exchange of views on the "Clean Air Programme for Europe". The discussion panel included the Head of Unit DG ENV, the EP rapporteur Julie Girling (UK/ECR) and the shadow rapporteur Elisabetta Gardini (IT/EPP).

 
18 Mar
 

CoR Commission activity

 
 

ENVE elects Mr Cor LAMERS (NL/EPP) as rapporteur for the opinion "Clean Air Policy Package". (COM(2013) 918 final, COM(2013) 919 final, COM(2013) 920 final)

 
11 Feb
2013
 

European Commission

European Commission publishes "Clean Air Programme for Europe" and related legislative proposals

 
17 Dec
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