PRESS RELEASE: A Breath of fresh AIR: Regional approach to future air-quality policy
Brussels, 26 June 2012, European Parliament
Members of the European Parliament, European Commissioners and political representatives of the Air-quality Initiative of Regions (AIR) met on 26th June to debate the future direction of air quality policy and measures in Europe. They launched their joint position paper and handed it over to EU-Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik . This initiative was taken by the most densely populated and industrialised areas in Europe where air quality problems are particularly prevalent and who are committed to delivering improvements in air quality in their regions.
Together, MEPs, the European Commission and Europe’s regions will play a key role in legislating on environment, economy and energy issues that influence the quality of air, which has a major impact on Europeans citizens' daily life.
The AIR group does not support any weakening of the strict standards contained in the directive. The current limit values should be the starting point for the discussions and should be based on the best available health evidence. Relevant factors should be considered in the compliance process.
Air pollution has national and cross-border dimensions and therefore requires action at all levels: European, national, regional and local. There is a particular role to play for European-level policy and measures, such as Euro-standards for motor vehicles, tires and brakes, buildings including heating stoves, industry and alternative fuels. Each level of Government should take the necessary actions to improve the quality of the air. Improving the quality of air requires better coordination between different European policies, like policy on energy efficiency.
The Air Quality Initiative of Regions (AIR) was founded in 2011 and represents 12 regions from seven EU Member States. These are: Baden-Württemberg, Catalunya, Emilia-Romagna, Greater London, Hessen, Lombardia, North Rhine-Westphalia, Piemonte, Randstad, Steiermark, Veneto and Vlaanderen. Together these regions represent 22% of EU GDP and 18% of the EU’s population (87.6 million inhabitants).