Why do we estimate?

National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD)

Air pollution travels over long distances, affects human health, degrades buildings and other man-made structures and adversely affects the natural environment through acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone.  The European Community agreed to set emission ceilings through the National Emission Ceilings Directive (external website) to protect its citizens, its man-made structures and its diverse environments.  The NECD (EU Directive 2001/81/EC) (external website) was agreed in 2001 with amendments (external website) to accommodate 27 member states and this was adopted in 2009.

The implementation of the directive requires (external website) that Member States develop and maintain national programmes with the aim of meeting fixed ceilings of national emissions by 2010 and thereafter.  Member States have to report their emission inventories (for the same 4 pollutants as in the Gothenburg Protocol; sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and ammonia (NH3)) to the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission in order to monitor progress and verify compliance.

The UK is meeting its targets:  Analysis of compliance is undertaken every year and presented in the EEA’s NECD status reports (latest version 2014 (external website)).  The UK has met its targets for all four pollutants for all years since 2010 inclusive (data is currently available to 2014).  A number of Member States have failed to meet their NECD targets for NOx, NMVOC and NH3.

Revisions to the NECD: The NECD is currently being reviewed (external website) as part of The Clean Air Policy Package (external website). The current proposal is that the existing NECD would be repealed by the revised NECD, which would include legislation ensuring:

  • That the national emission ceilings (NECs) set in the current NECD for 2010 onwards for SO2, NOx, NMVOC and NH3 shall apply until 2020;
  • The introduction of new national emission "reduction commitments" applicable from 2020 and 2030 for SO2, NOx, NMVOC, NH3, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and methane (CH4).

Get data

View the latest UK data submission under the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (external website - opens in a new window)

Detailed data used for the UK NECD estimates can be downloaded from the data page Air Quality data (XLSX).

Page last modified: 10 June 2016