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Legal Framework

Ambient Air Quality

The Ambient Air Quality Regulations (Legal Notice 478 of 2010) transpose all the ambient air quality acquis into Maltese Legislation. The major aim of this Legal Notice in line with the aim of the Directives it transposes is to develop a long-term, strategic and integrated policy advice to protect against significant negative effects of air pollution on human health and the environment.  
Directive 2008/50/EC of the parliament and of the council of 21 May 2008, on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe is the main ambient air quality Directive.
  • Sets a general policy framework for dealing with ambient air quality
  • Does not look at the source of pollution, but on the effect on human health and the environment
  • Requires Member States to put in place systems for assessing ambient air quality based upon common methods and criteria
  • Requires Member States to maintain ambient air quality where it is good and improve it in other cases, by means of plans and programs of action
  • Lays down provisions for a system of gathering, reporting and publicizing information.  This includes both data reported to the Commission and information to the public
  • Sets limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, benzene, ozone, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2,5) and lead, which are not to be exceeded throughout the EU.

In addition Directive 2004/107/EC of the parliament of the council of 15 December 2004 relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercurcy, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air sets target values for arsenic, cadmium, nickel and benzo[a]pyerene and obliges Member States to monitor for gaseous mercury. The target values are to be as far as is reasonably possible complied with by the 31 December 2012. 

National Emissions

National emissions of nitrogen oxides, ammonia, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide are regulated by the Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants, transposed into national legislation by L.N. 291 of 2002 and amended by L.N. 232 of 2004.

International Legislation

The Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution aims to combat acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone. The aim of the Convention is that Parties shall endeavour to limit and, as far as possible, gradually reduce and prevent air pollution including long-range transboundary air pollution. Parties develop policies and strategies to combat the discharge of air pollutants through exchanges of information, consultation, research and monitoring.