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01 April 2021
- Air Quality

In March EFA participated in the European Commission public consultation on the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive, the key EU legislation regulating since 2010 the environmental impact of industries operating within the EU.

Arising from the new European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Ambition, the initiative aims to enable a greener economic growth and contribute to the ultimate goal of a climate-neutral Europe.

Industry emissions are linked with high levels of air pollution, and therefore harmful effects on allergy and lung health. The consultation specifically explores the contribution of industry sectors which currently are not covered by the Industrial Emissions Directive, such as agro-industrial activities.

In our response, EFA highlighted the impact of intensive agriculture, deforestation and halting of biodiversity as key factors leading to air pollution. These are in turn exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

Importantly for respiratory allergy patients, intensive agriculture might also lead to higher pollen counts. Pollen emissions are intimately linked with the onset of respiratory allergy. Despite pollens are from natural sources, they are very much affected and exacerbated by human industrial processes.

EFA also addressed the scarcity of public information on agro-industrial activities, and especially on their impact to health. We stressed the need for greater transparency on local public consultations on the activities of the agricultural industry, as key to ensure input from the public when scrutinising their activities and validating their permits.

Finally, we focused on the lack of policy coherence to protect our health and environments from human activities, industrial or not, and the need for a more holistic approach to emissions. Such an approach can have great benefits for both health and the environment, enabling cleaner air both at urban and rural settings.

At EFA we thank Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) for developing the basis of this response with members such as EFA, and their longstanding expertise in industrial emissions in Europe. You can find the full EFA response to the revision of Industrial Emissions Directive here.