NEC Directive status report 2013

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Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

This report describes the most recent emission inventory information provided by the Member States of the European Union (EU) at the end of 2013 under Directive 2001/81/EC, the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) (EC, 2001).

The NECD requires all 28 EU Member States to report information annually on emissions of four significant air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOX), non.methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants can cause respiratory problems, contribute to the acidification of soil and surface water, cause eutrophication in sensitive habitats and damage vegetation through exposure to tropospheric ozone resulting from these emissions.

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. These ceilings were to be met by 2010 as well as in future years.

Member State.reported emissions data and NECD emission ceilings
Each year, by 31 December, Member States are required to report their national emission inventories for the four NECD pollutants. More specifically, final emission data should be submitted for the previous year but one, as should provisional emission data for the previous year. Therefore, at the end of 2013, Member States were required to report final emission data for the year 2011, and provisional estimates of emissions for 2012. In instances where Member States did not resubmit new 2010 data, the final emission data submitted in 2012 were used (EEA, 2013a) (1). Analysis of the final 2010 data (EU.27) indicates that 11 Member States exceeded their respective NOX ceilings for that year (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden). Final 2011 data show that eight Member States exceeded their emission ceilings (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Spain) (see Table ES.1). Emissions of all of those Member States and Malta were also above this ceiling in 2012, in some instances quite markedly so. In absolute amounts, Germany and France reported the highest exceedances of NOX ceilings in 2012, by 222 kilotonnes and 173 kilotonnes respectively. In percentage terms, Luxembourg (55 %) and Austria (37 %) continued to exceed their NOX emission ceilings the most in 2012.

Denmark was the only Member State to have exceeded three of the four emission ceilings under the directive in 2010 (for NOX, NMVOC and NH3) (see Table ES.1). According to the final 2011 data, Denmark subsequently brought its NMVOC and NOX emissions below the ceilings. Germany (NOX and NH3), Slovenia (NOX and NMVOC) and Spain (NOX and NH3) exceeded two ceilings in 2011. Provisional 2012 data show that Germany is now below its ceiling for NH3, and Slovenia is below its ceiling for NMVOC. Only one Member State (Luxembourg) exceeds the ceiling for NMVOC in 2012. For NH3, three Member States were above the ceilings in 2012 (Denmark, Finland and Spain). All Member States were compliant with emission ceilings for SO2 in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In total, 11 Member States exceeded 1 or more of the emission limits in 2012, 1 country more than in 2011.

The road transport sector is one of the main factors contributing to the large number of NOX exceedances, particularly as reductions of NOX emissions from this sector over the last two decades have not been as large as originally anticipated. This is partly because the sector has grown more than expected, and partly because of the increased penetration of diesel vehicles producing higher NOX emissions than petrol.fuelled vehicles (e.g. EEA, 2011). Actual emissions from vehicles driven on roads under normal conditions are also higher than originally expected, with so.called 'real.world emissions' often exceeding the permitted test.cycle emissions used for the certification of vehicles complying with the Euro standards. This is particularly true for light.duty diesel vehicles. Member States regularly update the emission factors used in their inventories, and reported developments in emissions have to be based on 'real.world' emission factors.

Compared to the previous reporting cycle, when only provisional 2011 data were available (2), several Member States reported revised final 2011 emissions data, changing the status of compliance with the emission ceilings, as explained below.

  • Provisional 2011 emission data indicated that Slovenia achieved its NOX and NMVOC emission ceilings. However, the recently submitted final 2011 emission data now indicate that the Slovenian NOX and NMVOC emissions are slightly above their ceilings. This is mainly due to recalculations in the sector of energy use, and to emissions reported in the agricultural sector.
  • Germany's provisional 2011 emission data for NMVOC were above the ceiling, but final 2011 data lie below. The change is mainly due to recalculations in the energy production and distribution sector and the sector of solvent and product use.
  • Last year, Denmark reported provisional 2011 emissions of NH3 lower than the ceiling, but final 2011 data now show that emissions were slightly above the ceiling. The change can mainly be attributed to recalculations in the category 'Synthetic N.fertilizers'.

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