Miljöpolitik på samhällsekonomisk grund: en fallstudie om styrmedlet miljökvalitetsnormer för partiklar och kvävedioxid

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The purpose of the present project is to examine whether or not economic analysis and quantified assessments have been part of the information used when designing and implementing these environmental quality standards for nitrodioxid and particles in air. Such assessments arc regularly used in the transport sector in Sweden but several studies in Sweden and abroad have found that this is not the case for environmental policies. Most of these studies argue that this type of information is important for an efficient design of policy instruments and abatement measures. Efficient policy design was also considered an important part in the new environmental policy and the Swedish EPA was commissioned to develop methods of integrating costs of environmental impacts into economic and social decision- making models but also to investigate the possibility to use economic policy instruments. A finding in this study is that the Environmental quality standards have resulted in a number of activities at different levels of society. At the municipality level measurements of air quality are undertaken and information on these levels is provided to the public, while the Swedish EPA develops regulations and also makes assessments and decides on research programmes. The impact of the standards on air quality and societal costs however has so far been limited since few of the abatement measures presented in the action programmes have been implemented and these are to some extent introduced for other reasons than air quality. There is however a risk that the Environmental quality standards have resulted in abatement measures which have had a minor impact on human health. The conclusion is that socioeconomic analysis and quantified assessments are and have been lacking in the decision making regarding environmental policies for improved air quality in Sweden. Therefore policy makers are not notified about possible conflicts between improvements in air quality and other objectives in society and neither are they notified about possible synergies between different abatement measures. Quantified economic analysis is used in the transport sector partly for the reason of assessing trade-offs and possible conflicts between different policy objectives. This is also likely to be an important aspect to consider in the design of environmental policies and it is therefore troublesome that this kind of a systematic approach to evaluation is not used on a regular basis.

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