Petition urges EU governments to adopt European environmental standards

Written by Martin Banks on 7 April 2017 in News

A new report says that effective air pollution limits could save more than 20,000 lives every year even though national governments are said to be threatening to veto EU measures to tackle toxic pollution.

Pollution | Photo credit: Press Association

A petition calls on governments to protect citizens' health and the environment by adopting a European environmental standards document called the 'revised LCP BREF'. 

The petition also demands that governments protect their citizens' health by imposing strict limits on toxic pollution from coal. 

A recent report has shown how new pollution limits could help reduce the annual number of premature deaths caused by burning coal from 22,900 to 2600 deaths. 

The new standards are the result of years of negotiations between government, industry and NGO representatives. Their adoption was expected to be a formality but pressure from industry has led various member states to threaten to veto the new rules at the final hurdle. 

Environmental groups the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and WWF have teamed up with campaigning organisation WeMove.EU to launch the petition. 

The petition will be delivered to national governments a week before a crucial vote by national governments on 28 April. 

Commenting, Christian Schaible, policy manager (EEB) and member of the group that provided technical advice on the new standards, said, "The tried-and-tested techniques described in the document have been demonstrated as technically and economically viable in plants across Europe for many years. In terms of pollution reduction, this is much more like 'using the wheel' than trying to reinvent it. 

"Given the serious cost of inaction on this issue, it is scandalous that certain governments may attempt to block these evidence-based standards that are designed to protect the health of their citizens and the environment."

Julia Gogolewska, of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) said, "The health damage resulting from coal fumes today is neither necessary nor inevitable because the means to reduce this pollution already exist."

She added, "The new regulation will finally require polluters to bear some of the costs that are currently forced on society in the form of illness, health services and lifetime lost."


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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