NEC Directive status report 2010


Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

Executive Summary

This report documents the most recent emissions and projections information provided by the Member States of the European Union under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) (1) at the end of 2010.

The directive requires all 27 Member States to report information annually concerning emissions and projections for four main air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOX), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants harm both human health and the environment by contributing to the formation of ozone and particulate matter and by causing acidification and eutrophication. A summary of the main sources and impacts caused by these air pollutants is provided in the introductory chapter to this report. To help protect human health and the environment, the NECD sets pollutant-specific and legally binding emission ceilings for each of these pollutants and for each country, which must be met by 2010 and in years thereafter.

Comparison of emissions and projected emissions with the NECD emission ceilings for 2010

Updated data reported by Member States (2) shows only 15 Member States anticipate they will have met all four of the pollutant-specific emission ceilings specified in the NECD — with the remaining 12 Member States missing at least one of their respective ceilings (Table ES.1). In the previous reporting round (2009), 14 Member States forecasted that they would meet their ceilings for all pollutants. However, following changes to their reported projections for the year 2010, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom now anticipate meeting their emission ceilings for all four pollutants, but Denmark and Greece no longer do.

As noted in last year's report (3), for most Member States the 2010 emission ceiling for NOX remains the most challenging. Ten Member States report that they anticipate missing it, based on reported 'with measures' projections (4). The road transport sector contributed around 40 % of total EU-27 NOX emissions in 2008 (5) and, although overall emissions have decreased since 1990, the reduction has not always been as large as originally anticipated. This is partly because the sector has grown more than expected and partly because vehicle emission standards have not always delivered the anticipated level of NOX reductions. The NECD requires Member States to report emissions in accordance with the methodologies agreed upon under the UNECE LRTAP Convention and as such does not allow for adjustments of inventories if policies are found to be delivering lower reductions than originally anticipated. Four Member States (Germany, Portugal and Spain and now in addition, Denmark) indicate they will miss their NMVOC ceiling and two Member States (Germany and the Netherlands) expect to miss their NH3 ceiling. All Member States anticipate meeting their SO2 ceiling.

Some Member States, such as the Netherlands and Slovenia, expect to exceed their respective NOX ceilings by only small margins (less than 5 %). In contrast, Germany and France expect to exceed their ceilings by 328 kilotonnes and 275 kilotonnes respectively — equivalent to exceedances of 31 % and 34 %. Austria, while expecting lower surpluses in absolute terms, anticipates exceeding its ceilings by an even larger margin (40 %).

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