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Time Extension Notifications

Air pollution refers to substances in the air which directly affect human health, welfare, plant and animal life. Air quality is measured in terms of the concentrations – in other words the amount of a pollutant that is present in the air that we breathe. By reducing polluting emissions from local sources, the contribution of these sources to concentrations will also fall. The effective control of emissions throughout Europe and beyond is therefore vital to improving air quality not only in Gibraltar but around the world.
The latest air quality Directive commonly known as the ‘Clean Air For Europe’ (CAFÉ) (2008/50/EC) sets standards for a variety of pollutants that are considered harmful to human health and the environment. These standards include limit values, which are legally binding and must not be exceeded. These limit values comprise a concentration value for the pollutant, an averaging period over which it is measured, the date by which the limit values are to be achieved and in some cases an allowable number of exceedances of the value per year. The Directive also includes target values, which are set out in the same manner as limit values, but which are to be attained where possible by taking all measures that do not entail disproportionate costs.
Gibraltar has transposed CAFÉ through its own Environment (Air Quality Standards) Regulations 2010.

Environment (Air Quality Standards) Regulations 2010

Regulations 26 and 27 require that the Minister for the Environment draw up Action plans, where the limit values stipulated within the Regulations are exceeded, to bring about the reduction of emissions of the offending pollutant/s thereby ensuring that the limit values are met within the shortest possible timeframe. The levels of PM10 and NO2 exceed the national air quality objectives.
Pollutants of concern.
Particulate matter (PM10): Particulate matter (PM) is a complex assemblage of non-gaseous material of varied chemical composition. It is categorised by the size of the particle (e.g. particles with a diameter of less than 10 microns (µm)). Most PM in Gibraltar comes from unmade land, road traffic, construction sites from anthropogenic sources outside Gibraltar and from natural sources such as Saharan Dust and sea salt. Small particles tend to be long-lived in the atmosphere and can be transported great distances.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): All combustion processes produce oxides of nitrogen (NOx). In Gibraltar power generation, road transport and shipping are the main sources of these emissions. NOx is primarily composed of two pollutants – nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). NO2 is of most concern due to its impact on health. However NO easily converts to NO2 in the air – so to reduce concentrations of NO2 it is essential to control emissions of NOx.
In accordance with our legislation, an Air Quality Action Plan has been produced. The plan comprises actions that Government has established as a means of reducing levels of Particulate Matter (PM10) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in Gibraltar, which are the two pollutants for which exceedances of EU limit values have been recorded for the years 2007 and 2008. Once the proposed actions are applied the measured concentrations of PM10 and NO2 will be well below the EU limit values.

Air Quality Action Plan

The legislation allows Member States to apply for time extension to the limit value where, in a given zone or agglomeration, conformity with the limit values cannot be achieved by the deadlines. A Member State may postpone those deadlines by a maximum of five years for that particular zone or agglomeration, on condition that an air quality plan is established for the zone or agglomeration to which the postponement would apply.
This air quality action plan has been produced to accompany the formal applications for a time extension for PM10 and NO2 to the European Commission and to establish a bold coherent strategy to reduce measured levels of PM10, NO2 and other pollutants. The public needs to be aware that this is an active document that is subject to review.
Urban dust constitutes a considerable portion of local PM10 measurements. It is therefore a significant local source which must be dealt with. As part of Government’s attempt to tackle and reduce emissions from these sources, the Government has introduced legislation on the matter. The Environment Act 2005, Control of Dust Regulations 2010, sets out a series of compliance measures necessary for the attainment of the targets for the reduction of dust in ambient air.

The Environment Act 2005, Control of Dust Regulations 2010.

Under Regulation 9 of the legislation, The Minister for the Environment has approved a Dust Best Practice Guide for the reduction of dust emissions.

Dust Code of Practice

The legislation and Code of Practise form part of the implementation measures required under the TEN application. The complete evidence base which supports our Time Extension Notification Application (TEN application) for PM10 is set out below.

PM10 Evidence base

Air Quality Action Plan