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Clearing The Air: Research Findings On New Additions To The EU Air Quality Directive Proposal

Monday 4 December 2023, 10:30-12:30 CET

Green Deal Projects Support Office webinar on EU Air Quality Directive


Air quality in Europe has markedly improved in the last two decades as a consequence of the policy actions implemented at European, National, Regional and Local levels. In parallel, advances in the scientific knowledge have uncovered that negative health effects can be experienced at even lower ambient concentrations of air pollutants than previously expected. This is because some air pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), can lead to both short-term and long-term health problems. Consequently, the 2021 WHO air quality guidelines and their use for the subsequent elaboration of a draft for a new EU air quality directive are currently under discussion.

Indeed, the European Union (EU) intends to revise its Ambient Air Quality Directives as part of the European Green Deal, with the goal of achieving zero air pollution by 2050 environment. The proposed revisions will align the EU's air quality standards more closely with WHO’s guidelines and include a mechanism for the regular review of air quality standards based on the latest scientific information. However, following several postponements, full alignment with the WHO guidelines is now scheduled for 2035.

Although primary atmospheric PM has decreased by around 50% since 2000, most of its components are not emitted into the atmosphere, but are rather formed there from gaseous precursors. The evaluation of abatement methods and monitoring of abatement concentrations of PM therefore requires advanced air quality monitoring and modelling tools. Furthermore, articles 7 and 10 of the current draft of the EU air quality directive are requiring Member States to monitor other advanced air quality parameters, such as ultrafine particles (those finer than 0.1 micron, UFP), particle size distribution of number of concentrations (PNSD), black carbon (BC), ammonia (NH3), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the components of PM. It is therefore important to maintain a strong link between novel research in air quality monitoring and policymakers, establishing air quality monitoring requirements, in order to better understand what is possible and what continuing improvements can be made.


The objectives of this webinar are three-fold:

  • To share knowledge between EU research projects working on the phenomenology of new pollutants included in the proposed EU Air Quality Directive, bringing together both GDC and non-GDC projects.

  • To highlight to policymakers the most recent research and thinking on the key sources of new pollutants, trends in their source contributions, and methods to model and take inventory of these pollutants, establishing a foundation for further information exchange.

  • To emphasise how these air quality standards impact citizens, and what they can do (and have done) to contribute to policy development.

Agenda 10:30 – 10:35 Welcome and introduction

  • By a representative of the GD-SO

10:35 – 11:00 Introductory Session

  • EU Ambient Air Quality Directive and air pollutants of emerging concern” (Lucia BERNAL-SAUKKONEN, DG ENV)

  • Closing the loop: good practice statements in WHO global air quality guidelines” (Roman PEREZ-VELASCO, WHO-Bonn)

11:00 – 12:10 Experiences and insights of projects I - New pollutants’ trends in source contributions, and methods to model and take inventory of them

  • RI-URBANS: Phenomenology of ultrafine particles, black carbon, oxidative potential & ammonia in Urban Europe. X. QUEROL and T. PETÄJÄ

  • STARGATE: Ultrafine particles in and from airports. J. PETERS

  • n-PETS: Ultrafine particles from transportation. F. AMATO

  • PREPAIR: PM source apportionment. E. CUCCIA

  • LIFE REMY: Reducing uncertainties from emission inventories. G. MAFFEIS

II - Air quality standards impact on citizens, and their role in measuring air quality

  • CitieS-Health: Mapping of urban pollution for epidemiological studies. X. BASAGAÑA

  • CompAir: Community Observation Measurement & Participation in AIR Science. L. RAES

  • RI-URBANS: Mapping of new pollutants & citizens science. M. VAN POPPEL, G. HOEK

12:10 – 12:30 Questions, Discussion, & Wrap up How can projects’ results support the revision of the EU Air Quality Directive?


Registration is open until Thursday, 30 November at 17:00 CET. An MS Teams link will be sent to registered participants via email ahead of the webinar to connect.

Should you have any questions related to the webinar please reach out to us via



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