Technical Committee Environment
EU - Acidification Strategy - Critical load concept -
The development of so-called `novel forest damages' is considered to be - at least partly - a result of
the impact of certain air pollutants such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides; these precipitate as acid rain
and acidify the soil, thus damaging sensitive ecosystems, e.g. forests.
To combat acidification, the EU Commission has produced a Community strategy, which is based on the concept of critical loads.
The DGMK report 548 deals with this concept of critical loads and with the measures to combat soil acidification. It explains that critical loads are not damage thresholds, but environmental standards, and deviation does not necessarily require any action. It demonstrates, why the reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions, formed during the utilization of fluid fuels, is not a cost-effective measure. It proposes continued implementation of agreed plans for emission reduction, before additional legislative steps are considered.
This report contains information to June 1998 inclusive.