The European Commission has put back revision of the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) to 2013, it confirmed in January.
The directive sets a cap, in tonnes, on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide and ammonia from each EU member state. This aims to reduce background concentrations and curb transboundary pollution.
The caps were due to be met last year, although not all states are likely to have done so (ENDS Report 407, pp 56-57). The UK probably scraped under its NOx cap (ENDS Report 432, p 21), while the other limits were met some time ago.
Green NGOs have been pressing for new caps for several years, after repeated delays to the anticipated revision (ENDS Report 403, p 56). But the commission has decided to consider doing this as part of a wide-ranging review of EU air quality legislation in two years’ time.
Environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said the commissioners believed “a stand-alone revision would not fully benefit from synergies with other policy measures in the pipeline”. These could include the evaluation of the sixth environmental action scheme and new climate change and industrial policies.
Meanwhile, the commission will press ahead with measures on the sulphur content of marine fuels and emissions from road vehicles and machinery.