21 - Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996 on ambient air quality assessment and management (OJ L 296 21.11.1996 p. 55 pp. 406-419


By Philippe Sands and Paolo Galizzi

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Editorial note

Council Directive 96/62/EC recognises the need to assess ambient air quality needs against limit values and/or alert thresholds. The general aim of the Directive is to define the basic principles of a common strategy regarding ambient air quality, including defining and establishing objectives, assessing quality and obtaining information (Article 1). ‘Ambient air’ is defined as outdoor air in the troposphere, excluding work places (Article 2(1)). Member States are required to designate competent authorities in order to ensure the implementation of the Directive (Article 3). The Directive establishes a timetable for the Commission to propose the setting of limit values and alert thresholds for pollutants listed in Annex I (Article 4(1)), which must take into account the most recent scientific-research data and the most recent advances in metrology (Article 4(2)). When the limit values and alert thresholds are set, criteria and techniques must be established for the measurement and use of other techniques for assessing ambient air quality (Article 4(3)). Member States which do not have representative measurements of the levels of pollutants for all zones and agglomerations must undertake a series of representative measurements, surveys or assessments in order to have data available in time for implementation of legislation (Article 5). Once limit values and alert thresholds have been set, ambient air quality must be assessed throughout the territory of the Member States (Article 6).

Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the limit values, and draw up action plans indicating the measures to be taken in the short term where there is a risk of the limit values and/or alert thresholds being exceeded (Article 7).

No references available.