ENV02 PartEmission

Political Background

The Sixth Community Environment Action Programme adopted by Decision No 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 22nd, 2002 establishes the need to reduce pollution to levels which minimise harmful effects on human health, paying particular attention to vulnerable members of the population and to the environment as a whole. European Community legislation have established appropriate standards for ambient air quality for the protection of human health and susceptible individuals in particular, as well as for national emission ceilings. Following its communication of May 4th, 2001, which established the ‘Clean Air For Europe (CAFE) programme’, the Commission adopted another communication on  September 21st, 2005 entitled ‘Thematic strategy for air pollution’. One of the conclusions of that thematic strategy is that further reductions in emissions from the transport sector (air, maritime and land transport), from households and from the energy, agricultural and industrial sectors are needed to achieve EU air quality objectives. This project aims to provide the underpinning metrology research to better understand, measure and therefore control automotive exhaust emissions. The need for this JRP is demonstrated in different ways for different parts of the work. It addresses three main constituent of exhaust emissions where measurement infrastructure is lacking: Soot particles, Platinum Group Elements (PGE) and Mercury.


Numerous epidemiological studies show the effect of increased ambient pollution. Therefore measurement air quality networks have been installed and a European Directive requires the monitoring of air pollution. Improvement in the quality of life for European citizens cannot be achieved by observing ambient air alone. It is also important to be able to identify, to quantify and finally to regulate the emission of distinct sources relevant for ambient air quality. For this reason it is essential to establish a metrological basis for the measurement of certain critical pollutants.

Automotive vehicles are a major source of environmental pollution i.e. particularly the primary atmospheric contaminants, such as CO, NOX, SOX and hydrocarbons. Petrol combustion also causes pollution with a number of inorganic elements, such as mercury (Hg), which is naturally occurring in fossil fuels while Platinum Group Elements (PGE) can be present from catalytic converters, and sub-micron particles are present in exhausts from the combustion of Diesel fuel. In order to assess the risks from these additional pollutants and introduce appropriate regulation, the capability of practical and traceable measurements is required.