Lowest pollution limits improve public health and save billions in taxpayer money

Adjusting Europe’s most polluting industry regulated by the Industrial Emissions Directive to the lowest achievable pollution limits will not only improve environmental protection but also save up to 37,000 lives and €103 billion in taxpayer money per year, shows Upgrading Europe's Air, a new analysis by CREA (Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air).

Lowest Pollution Limits Improve Public Health and Save Billions in Taxpayer Money

Stricter emission limits in the power and industrial sectors would avoid an estimated 120,000 cardiac hospital admissions, over 7 million restricted activity days and 10,000 annual deaths compared with the latest reported emission data. The avoided economic cost savings are estimated at €28 billion annually. The application of measures relating to emissions from intensive livestock, particularly linked to ammonia and methane emissions, would avoid 27,000 annual deaths with an estimated yearly economic cost benefit evaluated at €75 billion.

The European Parliament is due to take its position on the matter, with a vote expected on 25 May in the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. A failure to adjust industry to the lowest pollution limits will push EU’s zero pollution ambition decades into the future while sacrificing the environment, people’s health and public money savings.

Christian Schaible, Head of Zero Pollution Industry at the EEB said:

"It is imperative to change the culture that rewards polluters. Member states need to change their consistent alignment to most lenient pollution reduction obligations, especially when they transpose EU standards into national rules."

"The case for huge public benefits of avoiding air pollution thanks to strict limits is crystal clear, we cannot afford to lose further time for polluters to escape their responsibilities. We would expect Members of the European Parliament to not fall behind in the ambition to serve people’s interests first.”

Lauri Myllyvirta, Lead Analyst at Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air said:

“Air pollution control requirements for power plants, heavy industry and agriculture in the EU have fallen far behind best practice, causing tens of thousands of avoidable deaths each year. The economic burden associated with the pollution far exceeds any economic benefits from watered-down emission limits. The revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to upgrade Europe's air quality and protect European health.”