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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Area Quality a response from the European Commission

In September we had a meeting with Julie Girling MEP to raise our concerns about the failure of the UK authorities to control pollution  in the centre of Bath. Julie agreed to raise our concerns with the European Commission by means of a Parliamentary Question.

Julie has now received an answer from the European Commission as follows:

Question for written answer E-010825/2013 to the Commission Rule 117
Julie Girling (ECR)
Subject:    Air pollution in Bath

It has been brought to my attention that air pollution (including emissions of nitrogen dioxide) in Bath has been above acceptable EU levels for some time. Current statistics give a figure of over 400 cars per hour, including coaches, in the Circus area. There is a strong concern that the issue of air quality in Bath, specifically along the A4, is not being dealt with adequately by the UK government at Member State level.

Is the Commission in contact with the UK government regarding this issue and has any commitment been made to address it?

EN E-010825/2013
Answer given by Mr Poto─Źnik on behalf of the Commission

In accordance with Directive 2008/50/EC , Member States have to ensure that the limit values for the protection of human health are complied with throughout their zones and agglomerations, subject to the exceptions laid down in Article 22 (postponement of attainment deadlines). The limit values for nitrogen dioxide are binding since 1 January 2010 and the exceptions are subject to conditions, which are assessed by the Commission under the procedure laid down in the Directive.

As regards the limit values for nitrogen dioxide, the United Kingdom Government notified its intention to postpone the deadline in a number of zones including Bath (which is included in zone 0030, South-East). By decision of 25 June 2012, the Commission raised objections as regards certain zones including the one of Bath, because the conditions for a postponement were not met. As a result, the UK authorities are under the obligation to ensure that the limit values are complied with in Bath.

Julie also obtain a response from DEFRA which gives us cause for concern as to the quality of information informing their decision making in this area.

We are having a further meeting with Julie Girling next month to discuss the answers we have received and plan the best way forward.