Despite improvements, critical gaps remain in environmental performance across the EU’s Member States.
That’s according to the European Environment Agency (EEA), which has said despite the European economy growing faster than its use of raw materials, indicating better resource efficiency, more work is needed in a number of areas by 2020.
It suggests the natural environment is not yet being protected, maintained and enhanced in line with ambitions, with the outlook of meeting ammonia reduction commitments by 2020 being revised from ‘likely’ to ‘uncertain’.
Similarly, prospects of keeping the average annual rate of land take below 800 square kilometres has been revised from ‘uncertain’ to ‘unlikely’.
The report says meeting the energy efficiency target is possible but requires additional effort, particularly in the emissions intensive transport sector.
Despite substantial reductions in emissions of air and water pollutants in recent decades, concerns persist around air quality and noise pollution, particularly in busy cities like London.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: “Looking beyond 2020, EU Member States need to accelerate progress in transforming key systems of production and consumption, including in food, energy and mobility, that have the greatest environmental and climate impacts.”