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Defra submits UK application to the European Commission for an extension to meet PM10 air quality limits

News published: 24/04/2009

Defra has today (24 April 2009) submitted the UK's notification to the European Commission to secure additional time to meet the limit values for PM10 for eight UK zones/agglomerations in accordance with Council Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality.

Under EU legislation, the UK is divided into zones and agglomerations (areas with populations of more than 250,000) and annual compliance reports are submitted on this basis. Levels of PM10 have been falling across the UK. However, in small parts of eight administrative areas, breaches of the PM10 limit values have been reported to the European Commission since they came into force in 2005 and so additional time to meet the required limits is needed.

The extension would enable current and planned measures to take effect to reduce PM10 levels to within the EU limits by the extended deadline of 2011. Of particular importance in delivering improvements are the EU vehicle emission standards and other traffic related measures, such as encouraging lower emission vehicles, and regional or local measures promoting greater use of public transport and smoother traffic flows. The commitment in this week's budget announcement to introduce measures to incentivise uptake of HGV's and buses that meet the latest EU vehicle emission standards will also deliver valuable improvements. The application follows a public consultation on the content of the UK's application for an extension that closed on 10 March. A summary of responses to that was published by Defra on 8 April.

The application comprises a series of detailed forms and a Technical Report, which are available, archived at: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/air/airquality/eu-int/eu-directives/airqual-directives/notification.htm

The Commission has 9 months to assess the application.

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