Air quality rules and citizens’ health are non-negotiable

11/02/2019

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The EU needs to protect citizens from pollution, not loosen air quality rules as conservatives suggest, the Party of Europeans Socialists said today.

In response to diesel car bans in certain areas of some German cities, CSU and CDU politicians have criticised Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella and the EU’s air quality rules. They are calling for nitrogen oxide limits to be revised so they are less strict, but their argument is based on the opinion of a small group of lung doctors who doubt the health-harming effects of nitrogen oxide.

The PES defends Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella against unfounded and personal attacks.

Sergei Stanishev, President of the PES, said:

“The quality of the air we breathe should really not be something we have to fight for. Pollution is especially harmful to the most vulnerable people: the elderly, the sick, children and pregnant women. This is exactly why we have limits on nitrogen oxide and fine particles.

“The debate that some conservatives want to start is based on an opinion from a handful of doctors that the vast majority of health researchers and professional disagree with. It’s good to see that Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella is not intending to lower the limits, but rather to strengthen them.

“We want to protect people’s health. Our manifest for the European elections will focus on how we can combine the protection of our planet with the health and economic interests of all our citizens. It's the job of public authorities – national and European – to ensure a just transition to a more sustainable and cleaner society.”