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New EU standards to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality – benefiting our children

Image: European Parliament

The European Commission has outlined a proposal to reduce air pollution from new motor vehicles sold in the EU to meet the European Green Deal’s zero-pollution ambition.

Road transport is the largest source of air pollution in our cities, which in turn is having an increasingly serious impact on the health of children and young people.

The new Euro 7 standards will ensure cleaner vehicles on our roads and improved air quality, protecting the health of our citizens and the environment. Euro 7 standards and CO2 emission standards for vehicles work hand-in-hand to deliver air quality for citizens, as notably the increased uptake of electric vehicles also creates certain air quality benefits.

The European Commission says the new emission standards will ensure that cars, vans, lorries and buses are much cleaner, in real driving conditions that better reflect the situation in cities where air pollution problems are largest, and for a much longer period than under current rules.

‘Biggest environmental health risk in Europe’

These proposals tackle emissions from tailpipes as well as from brakes and tyres, and also contribute to achieving the new stricter air quality standards recently proposed by the Commission.

While CO2 emission rules will drive the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, it is important to ensure that all vehicles on our roads are much cleaner, it adds. In 2035, all cars and vans sold in the EU will have zero CO2 emissions.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that some 307,000 people in Europe died prematurely from exposure to fine particulate matter in 2019 alone.

The agency has branded air pollution ‘the biggest environmental health risk in Europe’ – the list of diseases inflamed by chronic exposure to air pollution includes respiratory issues, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Most deaths from poor air quality are in cities, where residents tend to live alongside dense traffic.

Author: Simon Weedy

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