Under the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution a new Air Quality Directive is in force since June 2008. It substitutes all earlier legislation of the former Directive and its Daughter Directives for the different pollutants and includes the limit and target values for air quality with connected regulation on monitoring, reporting and required actions for the protection of human health and vegetation. A summary is presented in the subjoined tables and on supplementary pages.

A. Limit values

Averaging PeriodLimit valueMargin of toleranceDate by which limit value is to be met

Sulphur dioxide

One hour350 μg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 24 times a calendar year150 μg/m3 (43 %)— (1
One day125 μg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 3 times a calendar yearNone— (1

Nitrogen dioxide

One hour200 μg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 18 times a calendar year 50 % on 19 July 1999, decreasing on 1 January 2001 and every 12 months thereafter by equal annual percentages to reach 0 % by 1 January 20101 January 2010 
Calendar year40 μg/m350 % on 19 July 1999, decreasing on 1 January 2001 and every 12 months thereafter by equal annual percentages to reach 0 % by 1 January 20101 January 2010 

Benzene

Calendar year5 μg/m35 μg/m3 (100 %) on 13 December 2000, decreasing on 1 January 2006 and every 12 months thereafter by 1 μg/m3 to reach 0 % by 1 January 2010 1 January 2010 

Carbon monoxide

maximum dailyeight hour mean (2) 10 mg/m360 %— (1

Lead

Calendar year0,5 μg/m3 (3)100 %— (3

PM10

One day50 μg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times a calendar year50 %— (1
Calendar year40 μg/m320 %— (1)

(1) Already in force since 1 January 2005

(2) The maximum daily eight hour mean concentration will be selected by examining eight hour running averages, calculated from hourly data and updated each hour. Each eight hour average so calculated will be assigned to the day on which it ends i.e. the first calculation period for any one day will be the period from 17:00 on the previous day to 01:00 on that day; the last calculation period for any one day will be the period from 16:00 to 24:00 on that day.

(3) Already in force since 1 January 2005. Limit value to be met only by 1 January 2010 in the immediate vicinity of the specific industrial sources situated on sites contaminated by decades of industrial activities. In such cases, the limit value until 1 January 2010 will be 1.0 μg/m3. The area in which higher limit values apply must not extend further than 1 000 m from such specific sources.