Subsection 2.5.2.3.
Assessment of the air quality


Article 2.5.2.3.1. The necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that in zones and agglomerations where the levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM10, PM2.5, lead, benzene and carbon monoxide in the air are lower than the respective limit values stated in Appendices 2.5.3.11 and 2.5.3.14, the levels of these substances are kept below the limit values, and that efforts are made to protect the best air quality compatible with sustainable development.

Article 2.5.2.3.2.

1.

The necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM10, lead, benzene and carbon monoxide in the air throughout the zones and agglomerations do not exceed the limit values stated in Appendix 2.5.3.11.

Compliance with these regulations shall be assessed in accordance with Appendix 2.5.3.3.

The established margins of tolerance stated in Appendix 2.5.3.11 shall be applied in accordance with Article 2.5.2.3.11, paragraph 3, and Article 2.5.2.4.1, 1.

2.

The alarm thresholds stated in Appendix 2.5.3.12, Part A, shall apply to the concentrations of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air.


Article 2.5.2.3.3. The necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the critical level for protecting vegetation stated in Appendix 2.5.3.13 and assessed in accordance with Appendix 2.5.3.3, Part A, are observed. If fixed measurements are the only source of data for assessing air quality, the number of sampling points may not be less than the minimum number stated in Appendix 2.5.3.5, Part C. If these data are supplemented by data obtained through indicative measurements or modelling, the minimum number of sampling points may be reduced by up to 50%, provided the assessed concentrations of the polluting substance in question can be established in accordance with the data quality targets stated in Appendix 2.5.3.1, Part A.

Article 2.5.2.3.4.

All necessary measures shall be taken that do not involve any excessive costs to reduce exposure to PM2.5, with the aim of achieving the regional target value for reducing exposure stated in Appendix 2.5.3.14, Part B, for the year indicated therein.

The necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the regional average exposure index for 2015, established in accordance with Appendix 2.5.3.14, Part A, does not exceed the regional exposure concentration obligation laid down in Part C of that Appendix.

The regional average exposure index for PM2.5 shall be assessed by the Flanders Environment Agency in accordance with Appendix 2.5.3.14, Part A.

In accordance with Appendix 2.5.3.3, the number of sampling points on which the regional average exposure index for PM2.5 is based, and its spread, shall be such that an accurate picture is obtained of the exposure of the population in general. The number of sampling points shall not be less than the number obtained by applying Appendix 2.5.3.5, Part B.


Article 2.5.2.3.5.

All necessary measures shall be taken that do not involve any excessive costs to ensure that the concentrations of PM2.5 in the air do not exceed the target value stated in Appendix 2.5.3.14, Part D, from the date stated therein.

All necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the concentrations of PM2.5 in the air do not exceed the limit value stated in Appendix 2.5.3.14, Part E, from the date stated therein throughout the zones and agglomerations. Compliance with that regulation shall be assessed in accordance with Appendix 2.5.3.3.

The margins of tolerance stated in Appendix 2.5.3.14, Part E, shall be applied in accordance with Article 2.5.2.4.1, 1.


Article 2.5.2.3.6.

All necessary measures shall be taken that do not involve any excessive costs to ensure that the target values and long-term objectives are achieved.

For zones and agglomerations where a target value is exceeded, the programme established under Article 2.10.3.1 and, where applicable, an air quality plan shall be implemented to ensure that the target values are achieved with effect from the date stated in Appendix 2.5.3.7, Part B, except where that cannot be done with measures that do not involve any excessive costs.

For zones and agglomerations where the ozone levels in the air are higher than the long-term objectives, but lower than or equal to the target values, cost-effective measures shall be prepared and implemented with the aim of achieving the long-term objectives. These measures must be in accordance with the air quality plan and with the programme stated in paragraph 2.


Article 2.5.2.3.7. In zones and agglomerations where the ozone levels meet the long-term objectives, the necessary measures shall be taken to keep these levels below the long-term objectives, provided factors such as the cross-border nature of ozone pollution and meteorological conditions so permit, and the best possible air quality that is compatible with sustainable development and a high level of protection of human health and the environment shall be maintained by taking proportionate measures.

Article 2.5.2.3.8. If the information threshold stated in Appendix 2.5.3.12, or one of the alarm thresholds stated in Appendix 2.5.3.12, is exceeded, the Flanders Environment Agency shall take the necessary steps to notify the public by radio, television, newspapers or the internet. The Flanders Environment Agency shall provide the European Commission with information, through the appropriate channels and on a provisional basis, on the recorded levels of and duration of the periods in which the alarm threshold or information threshold was exceeded.

Article 2.5.2.3.9.

The Flanders Environment Agency shall provide the European Commission, through the appropriate channels, with a list for a particular year of zones and agglomerations where exceedances of limit values for a particular pollutant can be attributed to natural sources. Information shall also be provided on the concentrations and sources and the evidence showing that the exceedances can be attributed to natural sources.

When the European Commission has been notified of an exceedance attributable to natural sources in accordance with paragraph 1, this exceedance shall not be regarded as an exceedance within the meaning of this Section.


Article 2.5.2.3.10. The Flanders Environment Agency may designate zones or agglomerations where the limit values are exceeded by concentrations of PM10 in the air that are attributable to the re-suspension of particles as a result of the spreading of sand and salt on the roads in winter. The Flanders Environment Agency shall provide the European Commission, through the appropriate channels, with a list of all these zones or agglomerations, together with information on the PM10 concentrations and sources present therein. When the Flanders Environment Agency notifies the European Commission of this in accordance with Article 2.5.2.5.2 through the appropriate channels, it shall provide the necessary proof that these exceedances were caused by such re-suspended particles, and that a reasonable attempt has been made to lower the concentrations. Without prejudice to Article 2.5.2.3.9, for the zones and agglomerations stated in paragraph 1, the air quality plan stated in Article 2.5.2.4.1 shall only be established if the exceedances are attributable to other PM10 sources than the spreading of sand and salt on the roads in winter.

Article 2.5.2.3.11.

If, in a particular zone or agglomeration, no compliance with the limit values for nitrogen dioxide or benzene can be achieved by the deadlines stated in Appendix 2.5.3.11, the Flemish minister may grant a deferral of up to five years for that specific zone or agglomeration, provided an air quality plan is drawn up in accordance with Article 2.5.2.4.1 for the zone or agglomeration to which the deferral would apply. That air quality plan shall be supplemented with the information stated in Appendix 2.5.3.15, Part B, relating to the polluting substances in question, and show how compliance can be achieved with the limit values before the new deadline stated in Appendix 2.5.3.11.

If, due to location-specific dispersion characteristics, unfavourable climatic conditions or cross-border contributions in a particular zone or agglomeration, no compliance can be achieved with the limit values for PM10 stated in Appendix 2.5.3.11, the Flemish minister may grant an exception from the obligation to apply these limit values until 11 June 2011, provided the condition in paragraph 1 is met and it is demonstrated that all appropriate measures have been taken at national, regional and local level to comply with the deadlines.

In the application of paragraph 1 or 2, the exceedance of the limit value for each polluting substance shall be kept within the maximum margin of tolerance stated in Appendix 2.5.3.11.

Use may be made of paragraphs 1 and 2 if the following conditions are cumulatively met:

1 the Flemish minister informs the European Commission of the intention to apply paragraph 1 or 2;
2 the air quality plan stated in paragraph 1, including all relevant data required by the European Commission to assess whether the conditions in question have been met, is sent to the European Commission by the Flemish minister, after being approved by the Government of Flanders;
3 the European Commission does not raise any objections within nine months of receiving the notification, as a result of which the conditions in question for the application of paragraph 1 or 2 are regarded as having been met.

If the European Commission raises an objection within nine months of receipt of the notification stated in paragraph 4, and if it requires the air quality plans to be adapted or replaced by new ones, the Flemish minister shall send the European Commission the adapted or new air quality plans, approved by the Government of Flanders.