Cleaner Air in Sight for Dublin with New EU Law: Green MEP


Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe has welcomed the European Parliament vote in favour of stricter air pollution limits for Europe, and replacing the current regime with limits considered safe for human health by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Air pollution is the number one environmental threat to human health in the world and a major cause of death and disease in Europe, leading to 300,000 premature deaths every year.

In a close vote, MEPs voted to bring the 2030 air pollution target for Europe in line with WHO limits, increase the mandatory minimum numbers of air monitoring stations, and introduce stronger protections against pollution around schools, hospitals, and assisted living facilities.

MEP Cuffe said: “Almost 1,000 premature deaths every year could be prevented every year on the island of Ireland by bringing levels up to WHO guidelines. That’s according to a report by TU Dublin and Queen's University, commissioned by the Irish and Northern Irish heart foundations. These are real people: your parents who suffer chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; your children, using asthma inhalers on a daily basis; and your friends and neighbours, with long COVID and other illnesses. We must do better by them. Clean air is a right, not a privilege.
“Nearly 100% of the urban population in the EU lives with poor air quality and, in parts of Dublin with heavy traffic, pollution is well above the WHO guidelines and this often affects the most deprived areas. People who are more affected by poor air quality - children, people living with pulmonary and respiratory diseases, and the elderly - must be prioritised when we implement measures to improve air quality. That is what we have negotiated and voted for today in Parliament, and I hope this outcome makes it into the final law, once an agreement is reached with the EU governments."

Right-wing MEPs had tabled several amendments to the law to dilute the impact of the proposed measures, in particular lowering and stretching pollution limits into the middle of the next decade. However, a majority of progressive MEPs worked together to quash this effort and approve limits that can save lives and improve human health in Europe. Following the positive vote in Parliament today, the proposed law moves to the final stage of negotiations between representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European governments.


September 13, 2023

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