Qualitative analysis of a regional public policy for air quality : A case study of Normandie, France

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Today, outdoor air quality occupies an important place into civic dialogue because of the many impacts of atmospheric pollution on health. Different legislations and strategies have thus been implemented across the world to improve outdoor air quality. Analysing and comparing the different strategies can help adopting the best practices in favour of air quality. In France, in particular, the national air quality policy is reflected at a regional scale through legislative documents called Atmosphere Protection Plans (PPAs). The analysis of such a document thus represents a powerful way to assess a regional air quality policy. Here, Normandie’s PPA has been analysed through a literature review, working meetings as well as qualitative interviews. The study highlighted that Normandie’s air quality policy had to answer a complex legislative ecosystem of international, national and local documents. The analysis also underlined that the questions of the perimeter of action of the policy and the targeted pollutants were as central as the measures implemented to improve air quality. The working meetings and the qualitative interviews led to consensus that Normandie’s air quality policy should target 3 atmospheric pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter 10 and particulate matter 2.5. If road traffic has been identified as the major emitting source of the first, particulate matter emitting sources were pointed as varied and multi-sectoral. Finally, some measures of Normandie’s air quality policy appeared to be particularly efficient and advanced, such as agricultural measures. Yet, many difficulties were encountered when implementing several measures of the policy. The main difficulties were the lack of financial resources, the lack of project leader and the lack of technical expertise. More than a basic analysis of an air quality public policy, these results can also be perceived as a sharing of experience on how a region addresses air quality issues. Because a work of collection of best practices and best strategies to improve air quality is more than ever needed, further research can build on this study to elaborate a relevant air quality policy. 

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