In 2022, the air quality at ground level in the Netherlands complied with the EU European Union (European Union) limit values for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter almost everywhere. However, these substances were found in slightly higher concentrations than during the COVID-19 pandemic years 2020 and 2021. At two sites, the limit values were exceeded due to road traffic. Also in 2022, the limit value for particulate matter was exceeded in a few residential areas in regions with intensive livestock farming. These are the findings of the 2022 monitoring report of the National Air Quality Cooperation Programme (Nationaal Samenwerkingsprogramma Luchtkwaliteit, NSL)
Limit values exceeded in two roadside locations and in a few rural residential areas
The European directive stipulates that air quality must be assessed at sites where people may be exposed to excessive concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. When concentrations exceed the limit values, the local authorities must take measures to address the situation.
In Rotterdam, the limit value for nitrogen dioxide was exceeded along a small stretch of road. The limit value for particulate matter was exceeded along a small stretch of road in Velsen. The concentration of particulate matter also exceeded the limit value in a few residential areas in regions with intensive livestock farming.
Result of lifting of coronavirus measures
In 2022, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter concentrations were slightly higher than they were during the COVID-19 pandemic years 2020 and 2021. The lifting of the coronavirus measures in 2022 resulted in an increase in traffic and economic activity, which in turn led to more emissions. Overall, however, concentrations were lower in 2022 than in 2019.
Air quality expected to improve further
Air quality is gradually expected to improve further in the coming years as traffic, industry and livestock farming are expected to emit less nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Each year, for example, older cars are being replaced by newer and cleaner models.
New European limit values for air quality
The European Union is currently negotiating a revision of the European air quality directive. This will lead to new limit values. It is currently unsure how high exactly these values will be and when they will come into effect.
About the NSL
RIVM monitors the National Air Quality Cooperation Programme together with the Living Environment Information Centre (Informatiepunt Leefomgeving, IPLO). In this programme, the Dutch central government and local and regional authorities work together to eliminate exceedances of the European limit values for air quality.