In 2017, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in most parts of the Netherlands were below European limit values. This concludes RIVM, based on the monitoring activities for the National Air Quality Cooperation Programme (NSL). From the perspective of public health reducing the concentrations of these substances further is important, also below the limit values.
For nitrogen dioxide as well as particulate matter, the substances were locally exceeding the limit values. For nitrogen dioxide, the number of locations where concentrations exceeded the limit value decreased compared to 2016. Exceedances still occurred on a number of busy inner-city streets. Both the average concentration and the number of exceedances in inner cities are expected to decrease further in the coming years.
Particulate matter concentrations still exceeded limit values at some locations, particularly those with intensive livestock farming. The number of exceedances for particulate matter increased somewhat compared to 2016, primarily because more livestock farms were subject to detailed modelling. In 2017, the average concentration of particulate matter in the Netherlands was comparable to 2016. Decreases observed over the past several years appear to have levelled off at present.
Uncertainties and risks
Government bodies need to provide updated data on road traffic and livestock farms to facilitate calculations within the framework of the NSL. In recent years, the quality of much of these data has improved substantially. A strong focus on data quality continues to be important for providing a reliable picture of air quality. At various locations, the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter are close to European limit values. Slight increases in the concentrations could strongly affect the number of exceedances. This means the number of exceedances is sensitive to uncertainties in the calculations.
At various locations, the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter are close to European limit values. Slight increases in the concentrations could strongly affect the number of exceedances. This means the number of exceedances is sensitive to uncertainties in the calculations.