Annual Meeting and Regional Training on Air Quality Assessment and Management

Date: 29.09-01.10.2014
Place: Podgorica,Montenegro
Organizer: ECRAN Secretariat in cooperation with the EC TAIEX Unit

The issue of air quality presents one of the areas in which the European Union has been very proactive. As the result of EU legislation, much progress has been made in tackling air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and benzene. However, despite a reduction in some harmful emissions, air quality continues to cause problems. The new Air Quality Directive (Directive/2008/50/EC) has entered into force on 11 June 2008. This new Directive includes the following key elements:
- The merging of most of existing legislation into a single directive (except for the fourth daughter directive) with no change to existing air quality objectives;
- New air quality objectives for PM2.5 (fine particles) including the limit value and exposure related objectives – exposure concentration obligation and exposure reduction target;
- The possibility to discount natural sources of pollution when assessing compliance against limit values;
- The possibility for time extensions of three years (PM10) or up to five years (NO2, benzene) for complying with limit values, based on conditions and the assessment by the European Commission.
Most of the ECRAN beneficiary countries are at early stages of transposing of the Air quality directive as well as at low level of implementation. Since this is the area that was not initially covered by the Regional Environmental Network for Accession – RENA (2010 – 2013), a separate Working Group under ECRAN has been created. The tasks of this Working Group are of cross-cutting nature and are implemented in close cooperation with other WGs established under Environmental Component of ECRAN.

With the help of a questionnaire the training needs of ECRAN countries on air quality was assessed. Based on the replies the first out of four trainings will be held in late September in Podgorica. During the first half day the annual working group meeting will take place. Overall the training aims at providing assistance to the implementation Air Quality Directive and the 4th Daughter Directive:
1. Planning – Designation of zones and agglomerations, competent authorities, representative measurements;
2. Planning and implementing measures to ensure compliance with limit values;
3. Monitoring, information and reporting systems;
4. Time extensions for complying with limit values, based on conditions and the assessment by the European Commission, and exceedances of limit values for human health.
The main subjects in the consecutive workshops are:

  • Implementation of the National Emission Ceilings Directive
  • Implementation of the Stage II VOC Petrol Directive
  • Implementation of Sulphur Content in Liquid Fuels Directive

Objectives of the Workshop:

Wider Objective: assisting ECRAN countries in the implementation of air quality related directives

Specific Objective: Capacity building regarding assessment of ambient air quality, management of air quality, and measures to improve air quality in relation with other environmental topics. Further specific topics will be discussed in working groups.

Expected outputs for the annual working group meeting:
  • Bringing together relevant representatives of the beneficiary countries;
  • Discussing the needs of the countries and the ways how the ECRAN project could address them best;
  • Adopting the Work Plan and other documents;
  • Exchanging information among the countries.
Expected results of the training The following result is expected for this activity
  • improved understanding of the requirements of the Ambient Air Quality Directive and the 4th Daughter Directive and their effective implementation;
  • exchange of information on assessment and management methods between ECRAN countries and European Member States.