Air Pollution

ERS and ELF reaction to landmark European Parliament vote on the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the European Lung Foundation (ELF) welcome the news that European Parliament today (24 April) adopted the provisional trilogue agreement of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD) to update the EU’s clean air standards dating back to 2008.

On Wednesday (24 April), the EU Parliament adopted a provisional political agreement with EU countries on new measures to improve air quality in the EU. Air pollution is the leading cause of early death in the EU, with around 300,000 premature deaths per year.

As part of the EU Healthy Air Coalition which represents medical doctors, healthcare professionals, patient organisations and health insurers, ERS and ELF recognise the agreement as an important step in the right direction towards delivering clean air for all in Europe.

Member states must now swiftly adopt this deal to improve the quality of the air Europeans breathe, improve lung health, prevent new disease and lower the economic cost of treating respiratory illnesses.

“Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. Our lungs are the first organ affected by air pollution. Studies have shown the impact it can have on our short and long-term lung health, including an increase in doctors’ appointments and emergency hospital visits for people living with asthma and heart conditions on days with higher pollution levels. We urge policymakers across Europe to act now. Together we have to fight to reduce and prevent the massive health impacts of air pollution without delay.”

Dimitris Kontopidis, Chair of the European Lung Foundation.

“Scientifically it is beyond doubt that air pollution harms health across Europe. Now is the time for politicians, especially from national governments, to ensure we have a new legal frame to follow through with improved EU clean air standards to protect people’s health. The good news is that reducing air pollution improves people’s health quickly.”

Prof. Barbara Hoffmann, ERS Advocacy Council Chair.

“Today’s vote by the EU Parliament on the trialogue deal on the AAQD revision is a huge step in the right direction for clean air in Europe for all. Although we fall short of full alignment with WHO Air Quality Guidelines, a new Air Quality Directive with more strict air pollution standards will give major support for clean air policies and actions that will ensure better health for lung patients and all Europeans, reduce environmental and health inequalities in Europe and help mitigate the impact of climate change on health.”

Prof. Zorana J. Andersen, Chair of the ERS Environment and Health Committee.

Read more reaction from the EU Healthy Air Coalition