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EU Parliament votes through stronger air quality standards

Press Release

Wednesday 7 Oct 2015

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed today’s positive vote, in the European Parliament, approving a proposal to impose emission limits of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) from combustion plants such as electricity or heating generators.

This EU directive, which Parliament has already agreed with the EU national governments, will close a current legal gap by setting standards for medium-sized combustion plants, those operating with a thermal input between 1 and 50 Megawatts.

Once officially approved by the EU Council of Member State ministers, the limits will be effective within three years for new plants, with gradual adaptation deadlines for existing ones, depending on their size.

Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Ms. Childers, a member of Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:

“Filling this legal void was a very important step to improve air quality for the sake of human health and the environment.

“Although many of us would like to see stronger provisions in place, the directive allows Member States to enforce stricter emissions values, which countries will have to consider for areas where EU air quality standards are not met.

“The review clause contained it the directive should lead to increased reductions in emissions in the near future.

“Nitrogen oxide emissions, which are at the heart of the current Volkswagen emissions scandal, cause serious respiratory complications and are responsible for premature death. Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand with proper regulation. Energy efficiency stands to win from this move.”