Title: Nitrogen in Current European Policies
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC65631
ISBN: 9781107006126
URI: http://www.nine-esf.org/ENA-Book
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Europe, and especially the European Union (EU), has many governmental policy ¿ measures aimed at decreasing unwanted reactivenitrogen (N r ) emissions from combustion, agriculture and urban wastes. Many of these policy measures have an ¿eff ects-basedapproach¿, and focus on single N r compounds, single sectors and either on air or waters.¿ Th is chapter addresses the origin, objectives and targets of EU policy measures related to Nr emissions, considers which instrumentsare being used to implement the policies and briefl y discusses the eff ects of the policy measures.Approaches¿ Th e chapter starts with a brief description of the basic elements of governmental policy measures.¿ A review of the main international conventions and EU policies related to emissions of Nr to air and water is then provided.¿ Finally the chapter provides a semi-quantitative assessment of the eff ectiveness and effi ciency of European policy measures.Key fi ndings/state of knowledge¿ International conventions and other treaties have played a key role in raising awareness and establishing policy measures for Nr emissionsabatement in EU through so-called Directives and Regulations.¿ Th ere are many diff erent EU Directives, oft en addressing individual Nr compounds from individual sectors (e.g. NOx emissions fromcombustion; NH 3 emissions from agriculture, pollution of groundwater and surface water by nitrates from agriculture, discharge oftotal nitrogen from urban sewage to surface waters).¿ Many EU Directives have been revised following review and evaluation. Th ere are increasing eff orts to cluster single EU Directives intolarger Framework Directives.¿ Compliance with, and eff ectiveness of, the Directives diff ers between sectors; it decreases in the order (i) reducing NO x emissions fromcombustion sources, (ii) reducing nitrogen (and especially Phosphorus) discharges to waters from industries and households, and (iii)reducing NH 3 emissions and NO 3 leaching from agriculture.¿ Th ere is not much literature on the diff erences in the eff ectiveness and effi ciencies of Directives; a number of factors seem to be involvedin eff ectiveness and effi ciency, but these have not yet been analysed in a coherent manner.Major uncertainties/challenges¿ Th ere is a huge diversity in N r emission sources and pathways, while the number of policy instruments is limited. Th ere is need to fi ndthe optimal mix of policy instruments targeted to the emission sources as well as the stakeholders involved.¿ It has been indicated that some EU Directives addressing emissions of nitrogen compounds from specifi c sources have antagonisticeff ects. Th e magnitude of these eff ects is not yet well known.¿ Th ere is a delay in the environmental and ecological responses following the introduction of Directives; these are due to legislativedelays, lack of enforcement and control, constraints in practice and because of biogeochemical hysteresis eff ects; these eff ects are notyet well understood quantitatively.¿ In general, only modest reductions in Nr emissions from agriculture have been achieved to date; this refl ects the need for more eff ectiveand effi cient policy measures and/or greater enforcement of current policies.Recommendations¿ To examine further the diff erences between sectors of the factors that contribute to the eff ectiveness and effi ciency of policy measuresfor the abatement of N r emissions.¿ T o explore further the eff ectiveness and effi ciency of more integrated N management and integrated policy measures for the abatementof adverse impacts of N r emissions.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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