European Union (EU) environment ministers have moved on air pollution from generators and set ceilings for four major pollutants. The agreement on large combustion plants (LCPs) and national emission ceilings (NECs) will more than halve the emissions of sulphur dioxide from existing plants.

By 2010, overall emissions of sulphur dioxide will be reduced by 77 per cent, nitrogen oxides by 51 percent, volatile organic compounds by 54 per cent and ammonia by 14 percent, compared to 1990 levels.

Welcoming the agreement, EU environment commissioner Margot Wallström said, “This proves that the EU is determined to set ambitious goals on environmental protection and deliver results. At the same time the agreement sets an important environmental benchmark for negotiations with candidate countries in the enlargement process.“ The agreement on existing plants excludes those shut down within 20 000 operating hours of January 2008. Member states equally agreed on individual emission ceilings for each state for the four pollutants.