An Taisce calls on Minister Hogan to support cleaner air

11th June 2014
Press Release

A real chance to reduce premature deaths from air pollution

An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland, is calling on Minister Hogan to support stronger air pollution standards at tomorrow’s meeting (12 June) of the EU Environment Council in Luxembourg.

If EU Ministers agree, citizens will benefit from improved limits on medium-scale power plants (between 1MW and 50MW), and a more ambitious new National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive, a critical piece of EU-wide air quality legislation.

In late May An Taisce wrote to Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan regarding the revisions to EU air pollution law and urged him to support strong reforms (please see our letter).

"Real ambition is required: the deal currently on the table needs to be improved to ensure healthy air quality throughout Europe. Tomorrow’s meeting presents a real opportunity for Minister Hogan to support this goal”, according to James Nix, policy director of An Taisce.

Air quality issues lead to over 1,300 premature deaths and roughly €3 billion in medical expenses in Ireland every year. At a European level the number of premature deaths rises to 400,000 with 90% of European urban dwellers exposed to levels of air pollution deemed dangerous for human health.[1]

“Without a stronger proposal, there would still be 260,000 premature deaths annually by 2030 due to air quality in the EU, while the number in Ireland would remain practically unchanged” continued Mr Nix.

A coalition of European civil society organisations is calling on their respective governments to support progressive sectoral targets for 2020, 2025 and 2030 on pollutants that include nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides, particulate matter, ammonia, mercury and methane.

“The cross-border nature of air quality demands strong collective action at European level with binding targets. An enhanced Directive will help guide decision-making and deliver better investment decisions for heating, transport, shipping, haulage, and agriculture. Improved technology will deliver lower running costs while at the same time safeguarding human health and the environment” concluded Mr Nix.

ENDS

For further information, please call: James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce, +353 86 8394129 or Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications Chair, An Taisce +353 87 2411995, publicaffairs@antaisce.org

Link to Letter dated 28/05/14 to Minister Phil Hogan, Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.