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 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 existing legislative framework and the citizens’ right to clean air in Europe, continuing violations of air pollution limits remain a problem and threaten health, the environment and the climate.
In the first part of the conference there were three keynotes:
- In the first keynote, Heiko Balsmeyer as coordinator of the Clean Air Project presented the outcomes and successes of the different project activities (presentation available for download below).
- Guido de Wilt from the European Commission, DG Environment, talked about the key elements and state of play of the EU Air Package (presentation available for download below).
- Then Christer Ågren, from the Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat (AirClim), gave an overview on EU air quality policy and its links to climate policy (presentation available for download below).
In the second part of the conference there were two Panels:
- In Panel I best practices cities Zurich, Vienna, Antwerp and Berlin (replacing Potsdam due to a cancellation at short notice) presented and discussed exemplary approaches on improving air quality with focus on public transport, cycling, shipping and non road mobile machinery. Additionally the effects of Low Emission Zones were discussed. The panel discussion was moderated by Louise Duprez from European Environmental Bureau (EEB).
- In Panel II political representative Guido de Wilt from the EU Commisson, Dr. Marion Wichmann-Fiebig from the German Federal Environment Agency, Elliot Treharne from Eurocities and Alan Andrews from Client Earth discussed the future of urban air qualities and it's political challenges. The lively discussion included the current revision process of the National Emissions Ceilings directive (NEC), the problems of Euro VI and real driving emissions, the effect of diesel and diesel tax policies on air quality, possibilities of EU funding and the challenge of implementation and compliance by member states. The panel was moderated by Nico Muzi from Transport and Environment (T&E).
After a concluding wrap-up of the conference by international expert on transport and air quality Dr. Axel Friedrich in the evening there were ample opportunities to deepen issues of the conference and to discuss specific issues with experts in more detail accompanied by a vegetarian buffet and drinks.
Additionally the participants could take pictures in front of a giant lung outside in the garden and visit a poster exhibition presenting the Clean Air project activities by the nine partner organisations more in detail.
Further information for download:
Christine Klaßen / VCD