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Further Information:

The complete Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC


08. October 2015

The Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe, DUH) won two lawsuits against the Federal State of Hessen due persistent non-compliance with the EU Air Quality Directive. The environmental and consumer protection organization sued for ongoing breach of limit values for NO2 in the cities of Limburg and Offenbach. Measures implemented to date haven’t improved the air quality enough to achieve compliance and thus to protect both the health of the citizens and the environment. Both cities exceed the annual average limit value for nitrogen dioxide of 40 µg/m³ since introduction of the binding limit value in 2010. A time extension until January 2015 was rejected by the EU Commission.

The Administrative Court Wiesbaden decided on 30 June 2015 that the air quality plans for both cities have to be updated with appropriate measures in order to keep the exceedance period as short as possible. The court decided the declaration by the competent authorities that compliance at the relevant measuring stations won’t achieved before 2020 is unlawful. The Hessian Ministry of the Environment has to develop an extensive air quality concept with a detailed timeframe showing  when limits will be met. The court makes clear that financial or economic aspects cannot lead to refraining from measures to comply with air quality limits. The concept must include all conceivable measures to reduce NO2 levels. In 2013 the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) analyses 242 air quality plans and action plans published in Germany and registered 110 standardized measures as suitable for NO2 reduction ( All these measures have to be considered.

In June 2015 the EU Commission took action against Germany for breaching NO2 limits, sending a letter of formal notice. The main source for NO2 emissions in urban areas is the transport sector, namely diesel engines. The EU Commission reaffirms that measures such as the ban of diesel vehicles in urban areas and the promotion of hybrid or electric cars or other vehicles that can operate without emitting pollutants could make a significant contribution to solving problems. In addition it criticizes the long lasting fiscal promotion of diesel fuels in Germany.

Both sentences can be downloaded here:

04. September 2015

After a Clean Air study trip for journalists, media articles across Europe praise the Basque capital city Vitoria-Gasteiz as a positive role model. "In just ten years Vitoria has completely transformed itself from a car-dominated, polluted city to one of... »More

20. August 2015

The manual „Clean Air in Ports“ contains the results of the workshops we held during the time of the project in Hamburg, Antwerp, the UK, Copenhagen, Barcelona and Gdansk and what we learnt during the runtime of the project:

  • Background information on...

17. August 2015

The Clean Air project will end in November 2015. This article gives a short overview about the outcome of the cooperation of 9 NGOs from 6 EU-member states to implement best-practice in the transport sector to enhance air quality. 2015 is the final year... »More

17. August 2015

Please join for the launch of our new air quality report at a cocktail reception kindly hosted by Catherine Bearder MEP on 14 September 2015, from 18.30 in the European Parliament. The report, entitled Don’t Breathe Here, is a very timely contribution... »More

16. July 2015

Around 90 participants from all over Europe discussed strategies to improve urban air quality and future challenges at the "Clean Air For European Cities" Conference hosted by the Clean Air Project. Air pollution has become the biggest environmental... »More

04. June 2015

Air pollution has become the biggest environmental health risk with over 7 million deaths globally and 400.000 in Europe attributed to air pollution. The external health-related costs in Europe are in the range of €330- 940 billion per year. Despite the... »More

04. June 2015

The European Biking Cities project yesterday presented its concluding brochure at the international Velo-city conference in Nantes. It contains good practice examples on promoting cycling in the European Biking Cities partners Bolzano, Brighton & Hove,... »More

28. May 2015

Europe’s construction machinery, ships and diesel locomotives still are among the least regulated emission sources when it comes to air pollution, even though they represent a significant share of particulate matter (PM) and Nitrogen dioxide (NOx)... »More

27. May 2015

Thanks to CAAG’s initiative and relentless efforts the Budapest public transport company carried out an experiment with the aim of real-time monitoring of the fuel consumption of the bus so that the driver can adapt his driving style for optimal fuel use... »More