This Guidebook presents the results of the AIRUSE LIFE Project (LIFE11 ENV/ES/584) offering a state-of-the-art compilation of measures to improve air quality in cities (  The primary goal is to assess Southern European environments, although many of the suggested measures can be applied to other regions. The Guidebook, available in five languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek) consists of 7 chapters. The “Guidebook of measures to improve urban air quality” is a free and useful tool for policy, research, education, industry and environmental agencies to improve air quality in cities in the short and long term.


The AIRUSE project produced the first harmonized dataset of PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations and composition for Southern European cities, taking into account one year (2013) and 5 cities: Barcelona (Spain), Porto (Portugal), Florence and Milan (Italy), and Athens (Greece) . Special attention was paid to the harmonization of both sampling and analyses protocols. 1047 PM10 and 1116 PM2.5 filter samples were collected simultaneously at the 5 cities and chemically analysed. A detailed trend analysis for air quality pollutants and emission data for Spain is also presented in order to evaluate the efficiency of existing measures at EU, national and local level. Download Here

Construction and demolition works are an important source of air pollution in urban areas. Therefore, many countries have established more or less strict regulations about manipulation and transport of building material, as well as rules about construction and demolition processes. Countries such as the Netherlands give high importance to the impact on the atmosphere of the emissions from public construction works before giving the environmental authorisation to specific projects (this resulted in blocking some infrastructure projects). Southern European countries have not given as much importance to such emissions. In some cases, the emissions from construction works can represent the highest environmental impact of the project. Although these emissions are temporary, they contribute to the local inventory of emissions. Their impact can be importantly reduced through a detailed planning and good management practices. Download Here

This chapter provides a qualitative assessment of the degree of implementation of Best Available Techniques (BATs) with regard to industrial PM emissions, focussing on the activities that could most contribute to primary PM levels in , and a quantification from E-PRTR data of the most relevant precursors of secondary aerosol and tracer elements for most current industrial emissions. Mitigation strategies have been revised and proposed for the relevant and identified industrial emissions sources. In addition, the content of this technical guide has been extended in order to take into account shipping operations and port activities (bulk solids unloading and loading operations, transport and storage). The present guide does not claim to be an exhaustive list of mitigation measures for emissions from industrial and other activities but to provide a useful and practical overview of measures and/or good practices for each selected activity, in order to reduce the environmental impact of associated sources. Download Here

Due to the difference in climatic and traffic conditions, proper measures to reduce road dust emissions may differ from one region to another. Measures can be either preventive or mitigating. Preventive strategies aim to avoid the build-up of particles on road surface in the first place, such as paving the ccess to unpaved lots, covering truck loads, or road traffic restrictions. Mitigating measures attempt by contrast preventing the release (e.g. by lowering vehicle speed), removing or binding those particles already deposited.
This guide addresses information on proper measures to mitigate road dust emissions in Southern Europe, based on experience gathered from literature review and targeted field tests from the AIRUSE LIFE+ project. Download Here

During winter, certain regions in southern Europe have unacceptable air quality due to Residential wood combustion. In burning ideally conditions, wood combustion produces only carbon dioxide, ashes and water. However, inefficient combustión generates high smoke emissions which contain pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter (PM). Particles resulting from RWC incorporate several toxic constituents, including carcinogenic and/ or mutagenic compounds, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Wood smoke particles seem to affect physiological factors, such as inflammation and blood coagulation, supposed to be involved in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The health effects caused by particulate matter are dependent on its physical and chemical properties. Reduced visibility and pungent odors are other effects resulting from the smoke created by inefficient wood burning. The understanding of firewood properties, wood combustion and combustion technology can contribute to reduce the wood smoke levels. Download Here

The main anthropogenic sources of urban air pollution in southern European cities are traffic, biomass burning, and shipping emissions in coastal areas. Measures to mitigate climate change have exacerbated the emissions from traffic and residential heating, whilst shipping emissions remain poorly controlled.
For road transport the NOx emissions from diesel vehicles need to be better controlled under real driving conditions, and for all cars the oficial CO2 data needs to better reflect reality. The best vehicles for low emissions during use are electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles with small internal combustion engines. However, there are still non-exhaust emissions when running on an electric motor and they are energy efficient under urban driving conditions. Fiscal and other incentives should focus on promoting these vehicles rather than those with internal combustion engines.
In the foreseeable future, while most road vehicles have internal combustion engines, there is a role of a car Eco-Label that focuses on the exhaust emissions of PM and NOx and the well-to-tank CO2. Download Here

A proposed Eco-labelling scheme for European vehicles
In summary, using the EQUA Indices would allow governments and cities to target only those vehicles which are high emitting in practice, minimising the private and public cost. Any system based only on official Euro standards would be costlier and less efficient. The EQUA Index system already exists and can be implemented quickly. It has been designed in the light of lessons from other labelling schemes, to be simple, accurate and action-guiding. The number of cars can be scaled smoothly, while maintaining adherence to the standardised test protocol, in order to achieve complete coverage of the market.
Publishing ratings alone will only have a modest effect on action, but when combined with the effects through fleet procurement, it has the potential significantly to shift both manufacturer and consumer behaviour. Download Here