In Norway, we have three different management goals for local air quality; legally binding limit values, air quality criteria and national targets for local air quality.
Legally binding limit values
The Pollution Control Regulations is authorized in the Pollution Control Act, and was adopted in 2002 on the basis of the EU directive on air pollution1. The limit values in the Pollution Control Regulations (Chapter 7) are legally binding, and exceeding these minimum requirements triggers a requirement for measures. The regulations state limit values for both short-term (hours / days) and long-term exposure (years) for a number of different components. This is because both short-term and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to health effects. Only airborne particulate matter is mentioned here (PM10 og PM2.5) and NO2, as it is these components that can most often cause pollution problems in cities today. In addition, can SO2 be a local problem close to some industrial areas.
According to the regulations, the hourly average value for NO2 cannot exceed 200 µg/m3 more than 18 hours in one year. In addition, the annual average for NO2 cannot exceed 40 µg/m3. For PM10 the daily mean value must not exceed 50 µg/m3 more than 30 days a year and the annual average value shall not exceed 25 µg/m3. For PM2.5 as of today, there is only a limit value for the annual average that must not exceed 15 µg/m3. For SO2 there are limit values for both 15-minute values, hourly values and annual average.
The air quality criteria
The air quality criteria is based on existing knowledge about the health effects that exposure to air pollution can cause and has been prepared by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Environment Agency. The criteria are set at a level that most people can be exposed to without any harmful effects on health.
National targets are not legally binding, but state the government’s level of ambition for air quality in Norway and are given in the state budget every year.
The overview of Norwegian limit values, national targets and air quality criteria for NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 is given in the table below.
Current Norwegian limit values, national targets and air quality criteria for NO2 and airborne particulate matter.
|Component||Averaging time||Limit value (1)||National goals from 1.1.2017 (2)||Air quality criteria (3)|
|NO2||15 minutes||300 µg/m3|
|Hour||200 µg/m3 must not be exceeded more than 18 times per. calendar year||100 µg/m3|
|Year||40 µg/m3||40 µg/m3||30 µg/m3|
|PM10||Day||50 µg/m3 must not be exceeded more than 30 times per. calendar year||30 µg/m3|
|Year||25 µg/m3||20 µg/m3||20 µg/m3|
|Year||15 µg/m3||8 µg/m3||8 µg/m3|
|15 minutes||300 µg/m3|
|SO2||Hour||350 µg/m3, must not be exceeded more than 24 times per. calendar year|
|Day||125 µg/m3, must not be exceeded more than 3 times per. calendar year||20 µg/m3|
|Calendar year and in the winter period (1/10-31/3)||20 µg/m3|
1: Pollution Control Regulations (Pollution Regulations), Chapter 7. Local air quality.
2: The Royal Ministry of Climate and the Environment, Prop. 1 S (2016-2017)
3: National Institute of Public Health (2013) Air quality criteria – Effects of air pollution on health. Oslo, National Institute of Public Health (Report 2013:9)
For particulate matter, the limit values in the Pollution Control Regulations were tightened in January 2016. The Norwegian limit values are now stricter than the limit values in the EU air quality directive.