Summer ozone levels "remain constant"

EEA figures reveal five "population warning" incidences, but little change in overall trends

Ozone concentrations in Europe were slightly higher this summer compared with 2001, preliminary figures from the European environment agency (EEA) show. The agency suggests, however, that a long-term fall in peak ozone concentrations is continuing, although median concentrations may still be rising.

The figures show that the "population warning" ozone threshold was exceeded five times this summer, in Spain (3), Italy and France. Under a 1992 directive, EU member states are required to issue a warning if ozone levels exceed 360 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) - a threshold which is to be tightened to 240 micrograms from September 2003 (EED 24/10/01).

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