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The complete Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC

Cleaning up our air - a European city ranking

On the 31st of March, BUND has published "Sootfree Cities", a ranking which graded the efforts of 23 major European cities to improve air quality. With this ranking, the Sootfree for the Climate campaign and the Clean Air project highlight how European cities have been actively fighting air pollution in the transport sector. Furthermore, we found that local air quality actions are not enough and cities are also exposed to pollution they cannot control. These emissions are regulated at national or EU level where we often find inadequate actions against air pollution.

The city of Zurich has emerged as the winner, thanks to a policy mix which includes a strong commitment to reduce pollution from vehicles, the promotion of cleaner forms of transport and low levels of air pollution. The runner-ups, Copenhagen, Vienna and Stockholm, also showed, it is possible to reduce the number of cars substantially and expand cleaner forms of transport, such as public transport, cycling and walking. At the other end of the ranking, Lisbon and Luxembourg finish in the last bottom two places for tackling air pollution in only a half-hearted manner.

The "Sootfree Cities" ranking evaluated 23 of Europe’s cities in 9 transport-related categories including the promotion of sustainable transport, traffic management, public procurement and economic incentives, such as congestion charges and parking. The ranking also took into account how successful each city had been at reducing the pollution at its urban traffic stations. The ranking concentrated on measures put in place in cities over the past five years and looked at air quality plans for the next five years to take into account changes that were already in the pipeline.

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