National Emission Ceilings

The National Emission Ceilings Directive is one of the instruments to reduce emissions in the European Union. It is directed against the acidification and eutrophication of vulnarable ecosystems in Europe and aims to reduce the affected area in Europe by 30% in 2010 when compared with the situation in 1990. The ceilings therefore include SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3.

The NEC Directive regulates the ceilings in the EU15 for the year 2010 and details the respective obligations of the Member States. Among these are the development of plans in which the allocation of the emissions reductions to the different economical sectors in a country are given and the various reporting obligations on the actual emissions and the progress with the reductions in respect of the relevant timeframe. The ceiling values are summarised in the table.

 National Emission Ceilings for SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3 to be attained in 2010

Country SO2kilotonnes NOxkilotonnes VOC kilotonnes NH3kilotonnes
Austria          39        103        159         66
Belgium          99        176        139         74
Denmark          55        127          85         69
Finland        110        170        130         31
France        375        810      1050        780
Germany        520      1051        995        550
Greece        523        344        261          73
Ireland         42          65          55        116
Italy       475        990      1159        419
Luxemburg           4          11            9            7
Netherlands         50        260        185        128
Portugal        160        250        180          90
Spain        746        847        662        353
Sweden          67        148        241          57
UK        585      1167      1200        297
EU15      3850      6519      6510      3110

A revision of the NEC Directive is presently (2008) being negotiated and is meant to establish NEC values for the year 2020; it should be in force from 2011.