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PM2.5 in the Netherlands. Consequences of the new European air quality standards

Report | 31-10-2007
Picture of Maze, the logo of the PM2.5 research

Based on new findings of the WHO, policy attention in the EU regarding particulate matter has shifted from PM10 to the finer fraction (PM2.5). The Netherlands will probably not be able to meet all new standards for PM2.5 in time with current legislation. The new PM2.5 standards will, therefore, require the Netherlands to adapt its policies and update monitoring, emission inventory and models regarding particulate matter. This is an outcome of the Netherlands Research Program on Particulate Matter (BOP), a national program on PM10 and PM2.5.

Will new European particulate matter standards require new national policy? 

Based on new findings of the World Health Organization, policy attention in the EU regarding particulate matter has shifted from the coarser fraction (PM10) to the finer fraction (PM2.5). A new EU Air Quality Directive, which also sets standards for PM2.5, is in the final stages of decision making and will probably go into force in 2008. The report makes an initial inventory of the national knowledge on PM2.5 and determines whether the new PM2.5 standards will be attained in the Netherlands with current legislation, while taking the large uncertainties in the particulate matter dossier into account. 

Standards and attainability

The highest PM2.5 concentrations have been calculated for the western and southern parts of the Netherlands. With current national and European legislation, concentrations along busy roads are expected to be between 15 and 26 µg/m3 in 2015. Consequently, the limit value of 25 µg/m3 will probably be met at most locations in the Netherlands in 2015. If a more stringent limit of 20 µg/m3 is chosen, however, then exceedances are expected in busy streets and local hot spots, even if the recently outlined additional national measures are taken. Moreover, concentration reductions of average urban background levels that are expected between 2010 and 2020 will be too small to meet the proposed exposure reduction target value of 20%. The new European standards for PM2.5 will therefore require the Netherlands to adapt its policies regarding particulate matter. Furthermore, the instruments for policy support (monitoring, emission inventory and models) have to be updated in order to determine air quality based on the new Directive. This is an outcome of the Netherlands Research Program on Particulate Matter (BOP), a national program on PM10 and PM2.5.

Netherlands Research Program on Particulate Matter (BOP)

BOP is a framework of cooperation involving the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP), the Environment and Safety Division of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and TNO Built Environment and Geosciences. This study is a BOP publication produced under the auspices of ECN.

Author(s)Matthijsen J ; Brink HM ten (eds)
Report no.500099001
Publication date31-10-2007
ISBN9789069601762
ISSN1875-2322 (print) ; 1875-2314 (online)
Pages75
LanguageEnglish