ECF letter on air quality calls on ministers not to undermine European NEC Directive

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letter put forward by ECF and signed by cycling cities around Europe has called for ministers around Europe to resist diluting the NEC Directive – a ambitious plan to tackle air quality issues.

Undoubtedly worse than reported in many cities, the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC) sets maximum pollution levels for towns and cities in all member states. There is a significant risk that proposals may be diluted, with ministers from a number of countries suggesting standards are being set too high.

Mayors of Cities for Cyclists members – Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Athens – already publicly expressed their support for air quality by signing this petition on vehicle emissions. Other capital cities like London, Madrid and Paris followed, especially knowing that the main way to tackle air pollution is to set up a global strategy on urban mobility.

Supporting the case for active travel, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has found that vehicles emissions are responsible for 75 000 premature deaths in Europe every year. Furthermore, the correlation between air pollution and health problems have been proven.

If pushed through, the NEC Directive will force member cities to have curbed air pollution to below the proposed ceiling by 2030.