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Today the European Parliament and the Council have signed into law the new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive, based on a Commission proposal that sets stricter limits on the five main pollutants in Europe. When fully implemented, the Directive will reduce by almost 50% the negative health impacts of air pollution, such as respiratory diseases and premature death, by 2030. To do so, it requires the reduction of Black Carbon emissions by 49% by 2030, compared to 2005, and the prioritisation of black carbon in these reduction efforts. The Directive is the central element of the Commission's more comprehensive Clean Air Programme for Europe.