European cities call for action on EU emissions targets

An organisation representing major EU cities has called for ‘strong’ action on emissions at European level as negotiations on the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive draw closer.

The call came from, EUROCITIES, whose members include representatives from UK cities including London, Bristol and Liverpool.

In a letter to the Dutch minister for environment and president of the Environment Council, Sharon Dijksma ahead of the negotiations on the NEC Directive tomorrow (8 June), the organisation set out what it sees as the priorities for negotiations.

The European Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium. The Plenary later this month will take place in Strasbourg

Negotiations on the NEC Directive will reach a conclusion tomorrow (8 June) 

In the letter, EUROCITIES says that, in order to make real progress on improving urban air quality, ‘strong legislation at national and European level is essential in supporting efforts by cities to clean up local air’.

It also calls for binding reduction targets for 2025 and ambitious emission reduction commitments, with flexibilities for incompliance kept to a minimum.


The NEC sets upper limits for each member state on certain harmful pollutants. Member States can then decide how best they achieve these targets.

The directive is currently being reviewed as part of the Clean Air Package.

Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES secretary general, said: “This legislation is crucial for improving local air quality. Air pollution is the most important environmental health problem in Europe and cities, where over 130 million European citizens live, are worst affected.

“We are counting on ambitious and binding targets to achieve the cleaner air we all deserve.”


Last week, campaigners wrote to Environment Secretary Liz Truss, urging her to show ‘greater ambition’ on efforts to tackle air pollution in Britain and to show leadership in Brussels. The government has faced claims that it is trying to weaken air pollution targets (see story).

Among signatories was ClientEarth, which is taking the government back to court over illegal levels of air pollution in Britain’s towns and cities.



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