About air quality
European Union (EU) directives on ambient air quality apply to Gibraltar and require monitoring and reporting of air quality to the European Commission on an annual basis. Prior to 2008, this has been performed according to:
- The Air Quality Framework Directive (1996/62/EC)
- The four Daughter Directives 1999/30/EC, 2000/69/EC, 2002/3/EC and 2004/107/EC.
From June 2008, a new directive has been in force: the Council Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (2008/50/EC), which is known as the ‘Air Quality Directive’ (AQD). This directive consolidates the first three Daughter Directives, and has been transposed into Regulations in Gibraltar. The fourth Daughter Directive (DD4), 2004/107/EC, remains in force. The AQD and DD4 were transposed into Gibraltar law by the Environment (Air Quality Standards) Regulations 2010.
As a result of exceedances of limit values specified in these Directives for PM10 and NO2, which are widely exceeded across EU Member States, Gibraltar formally applied in 2010 for time extensions (under Article 22 of the AQD) to the 24-hr PM10 limit value and the annual NO2 limit value. The detail of these applications is provided on the Government of Gibraltar website. The time extension application for the NO2 annual mean limit value for Gibraltar was granted by the European Commission, expiring at the end of 2014.
The Gibraltar Air Quality Plan (a formal part of the time extension applications) - the policy roadmap documenting measures the Government of Gibraltar has put in place to address air quality is now available to download (PDF). This Air Quality Plan covers both PM10 and NO2.
Latest up-to-date hourly measurements of air pollution are reported to the general public using an easy to understand ten-point index (1-10) system divided into four bands. The bands range from LOW to VERY HIGH air pollution with associated advice on health affects and what precautions may be taken to protect health. View details of the air pollution index.
Particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5)
A diverse range of sources contribute to the particulate matter concentrations measured by Gibraltar’s air quality monitoring network. Efforts are ongoing to better identify, quantify and understand the impact of these sources on ambient air quality in Gibraltar.
European legislation recognises that Member States cannot control contributions to particulate matter from natural sources such as African dust and sea salt which both affect measured concentrations of particulate matter in Gibraltar. The legislation makes provision to account for these contributions when assessing compliance where they can be quantified appropriately.
Annual assessments are made by AEA on behalf of the Gibraltar Environmental Agency to quantify the contributions of natural sources to measured PM10 concentrations. From 2006 to 2010 this quantification only included African dust. From 2011 onwards both sea salt and African dust have been quantified. The methodology and results of these assessments are presented in the reports section.