The Protection of Ambient Air in International and European Law
Edited by: Harry Post
For a long time, the condition of the lower levels of the atmosphere has been considered to be less of a problem in international law and politics than the condition of the upper layers. However, there has been a shift. Concern about the state of our 'ambient' air is rising sharply. Increasingly, severe measures have been taken to address the deterioration of the 'lower level' atmosphere due to the impact of such diverse agents as 'smog' producing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) or low level Ozone, and various forms of 'fine dust.' In certain areas, such as Northern Italy, the quality of the ambient air is becoming a major health hazard. The measures taken to address this problem, notably in respect to the restricted use of vehicles in urban areas, have already had more than a negligible impact on daily life. The starting-point of this book is the study of the condition of ambient air in the Italian region of the Emilia-Romagna/Po Valley, which is an interesting example. Together with the Ruhr-Moselle Valley in Germany, this Italian region is the area with the worst air quality in Europe. Following a scientific introduction to the quite complicated issues at stake, the first part of the book discusses the management of ambient air in this part of Europe, at the local and regional level, as seen by those who have specific responsibilities for its management. In Part II, the legal framework of the protection of ambient air is discussed from the international legal point of view, as well as from the perspective of European Community law, notably the 1996 Framework Directive on ambient air quality assessment and management and its detailed 'daughter' directives. These relatively recently enacted instruments of Community law are no longer considered adequate to deal with the current atmospheric problems. The Member States of the European Union have decided that they should be replaced by an entirely new 'integrated' and 'comprehensive' Directive on Ambient Air Quality and Cleaner Air for Europe. The book concludes with a short discussion of this new European legislation by one of its principal drafters. As the protection of ambient air is so clearly gaining in importance, a book dedicated to the latest legal developments in this field will be of utmost significance to anyone interested in the subject.
Publication Date: 4/30/2009