Group on Nitrogen Dioxide European Commission
At the meeting of National Experts on Air Quality Group, 5 July 1995, four working
groups were established for preparation of position papers for the development of
daughter legislation required under the draft Council Directive on Ambient Air
Quality Assessment and Management. The Directive was adopted by Council on 27
September 1996 (96/62/EC). It is referred to in this document as the Framework
This position paper has been developed for NO2 by a working group lead by Denmark
and Sweden with participants from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Commission’s
Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Environment Agency (EEA), industry, NGOs
and DGXI. Representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) were invited
to participate when relevant.
This position paper has been prepared in accordance with the recommendations from
the Commission (AAQ/95/1/2) including the amendments from the meeting on 5 July
The Working Group (WG) has had four meetings. The first meeting was held in
Copenhagen on the 12 and 13 October 1995 and the main topic was preparation of the
ARisk Assessment@ chapter of this position paper.The second meeting was held at
the Joint Research Centre at Ispra, on the 11 and 12 January 1996. The main topics of
the second meeting were measurements, assessments and quality assurance. The third
meeting was held at Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) in Gothenburg,
on the 25 and 26 March 1996 with the main topic being cost implications. The fourth
and last meeting for finishing the work of the group and the position paper, was held
in Vienna 3 - 4 December 1996.
The available data indicate that at least 21 million people in Europe are exposed at
times to daily NO2 concentrations above the WHO 1987 Air Quality Guideline(AQG)
of 150mg.m-3 for 24 hours. If these data represent also the air quality in cities where
no measurements have been made, 20% of the European urban population are exposed
to levels exceeding the WHO 24 hour AQG (1987).
This paper has been prepared in accordance with the Directive 96/62/EC on Ambient
Air Quality Assessment and Management and DGXI guidance as outlined in
document AAQ/95/1/2. It addresses meeting NO2 air quality objectives for the
protection of human health, ecosystems and the environment, risk assessment, present
and future air quality and the costs and benefit of setting objectives. It does not
address indoor air pollution, deposition or synergistic effects between NO2 and other
pollutants, or climatic effects of nitrogen-containing pollutants. As per the Annex I of
the Directive it focuses on NO2.
In determining limit values and, as appropriate, alert thresholds for NO2 the following
elements must be kept in mind:
· Abatement strategies for reducing effects of NOx may in some areas, lead to
increasing photochemical ozone concentrations.
· Parts of the population may be exposed to significant indoor and/or workplace NO2
pollution, but this is outside the scope of the Directive.
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