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EU Parliament tightens lid on dangerous air pollutants

Press Release

Wednesday 28 Oct 2015

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed the outcome of today’s vote in the European Parliament to set stricter air pollutant emissions rules and ceilings, which Member State governments are bound to meet by 2030, with interim targets for 2025.

Speaking from Strasbourg, this afternoon, after the vote on the review of the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, Ms. Childers, a member of Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:

“We want to control a suite of toxic pollutants that accounts for over half a million premature deaths throughout Europe. In Ireland alone, there are over three thousand premature deaths annually, by An Taisce’s estimates.

“Beyond the human cost, this comes at a great loss to the Union in healthcare and social expenditure and productivity, and more than justifies restrictions that will spur innovation and cleaner industrial solutions. Some calculate the loss to be just short of a trillion Euro, EU-wide.

“Although cattle got off the hook for their belching, we have included ammonia and methane, mostly arising from agricultural use, under the rules, given the vast emissions coming from this sector. Ammonia from agricultural sources is a surprisingly significant killer.

“It is quite regrettable; however, that Fine Gael’s parliamentary party in Europe chose to kill off the inclusion of mercury, which is churned out by the dozens of tons every year, calling for a lengthy impact assessment instead.

“Coal pollution seems to have blinded many policy makers to the incontrovertible scientific evidence about this dangerous neurotoxin.”