An audit of EU-wide measures against air pollution is to be undertaken.
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) will check the effectiveness of EU and national measures to reduce air pollution and assess whether funds are being spent “wisely”.
In addition, the auditors will work together with 15 audit institutions from countries in Europe and beyond on a joint report aimed at providing a reliable and accurate picture of the situation in different countries as well as an overview of good practices and effective solutions.
So far they have identified more than €2 billion (£1.7bn) of expenditure to improve air quality – however it doesn’t take into account additional support provided through sectors such as transport and industry.
Air pollution is said to be the single biggest environmental health risk in Europe, causing an estimated 450,000 premature deaths every year through respiratory and other diseases.
It also has “considerable economic and environmental impacts”, from increased medical costs and reduced productivity to damaged vegetation and ecosystems, according to the ECA.
President Klaus-Heiner Lehne said: “Our role is to examine spending in areas which touch on the everyday lives of EU citizens, their problems and needs. That is why we want to examine air quality and environmental health measures.”