Monitoring of Ecosystem Impacts for the revised National Emissions Ceilings Directive

JNCC recently provided advice to Defra about proposed revisions to Article 8/Annex V of the National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD). The revision aims to work towards the European Union’s long-term goal: “to achieve levels of air quality that do not give rise to significant negative impacts on and risks to human health and the environment”.  JNCC undertook a review of the current biodiversity monitoring schemes,  as well as noting measurements of air pollutants (sulphur dioxide, ammonia, ozone and nitrogen oxides). This reviewed the effectiveness of high and low intensity sampling schemes at detecting impacts of air pollution, either focused at specific sites or across the countryside.

 

There is more certainty about impacts of air pollutants associated with high intensity sampling where pollution and vegetation are recorded in detail from the same location. However, such intensive studies are generally limited to a small number of sites due to their high cost. The ability to have a much larger sample size in low intensity schemes compensates for this, and useful results have been obtained from analysis of widespread vegetation records against modelled Nitrogen deposition.  The advice document proposed that Member States of the EU should be allowed flexibility in evidence provision. It is likely to be most beneficial and cost effective to ensure that monitoring of ecosystem impacts is outcome orientated.

 

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Briefing for Defra:   Article 8/Annex V of the proposed revised National Emissions Ceilings Directive: Monitoring of Ecosystem Impacts