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13 Member States likely to exceed pollutant ceiling

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According to the European Environment Agency, 13 EU Member States are set to exceed national limits set by the NEC Directive on at least one of four major pollutants in 2010. While this is an improvement on last year, when it was predicted that 16 states would fail to meet their air pollution standards, the number of Member States that will exceed their ceilings represents just under half of all the European Union’s members. Of the four pollutants measured in the report (sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOxi), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) and ammonia (NH3), nitrogen oxides (NOx) are proving to be the most difficult to control, with Ireland, Austria and Belgium predicted to exceed their caps by up to 60%. In total, 12 Member States are expected to miss the NOx ceiling.

The country which is experiencing the greatest difficulty in controlling its emissions is Spain, which anticipates missing three emissions ceilings - those for NOx, NMVOC and NH3. France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland are all set to miss two ceilings. Few Member States have yet to fully incorporated the effects of the recession into their findings and, as a result, more Member States might meet their ceilings than the current data suggests.