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Air act (LAURE)

Law on air and the rational use of energy

3What is it?3 This framework act, published on 30 December 1996 and integrated into article L220-1 and following of the Environmental Code, aims at rationalising the use of energy and defining a public policy integrating air in terms of urban development. Everyone has the right to breathe air that does not harm their health.
It is formalised in the environmental code.

The following is made compulsory by law:

  • air quality monitoring,
  • the definition of air quality standards (quality objectives, limit values...)
  • providing information to the public.

Monitoring applies to the entire national territory since 1st January 2000. Public information, guaranteed by the State, must be provided regularly and an alert must be issued in case the thresholds are exceeded. The State delegates its monitoring missions to approved “joint” bodies combining 4 boards (State, local authorities, industrial corporations, associations). To guarantee the quality of the measurements, the State created the Central Laboratory for Air Quality Monitoring (INERIS, LNE, Douai’s Ecole des Mines).

It stipulates the establishment of a Regional Plan for Air Quality, Air Protection Plans and, for conurbations of over 100,000 inhabitants, an Urban Travel Plan (PDU). The PDU aims at developing public transport and clean transport methods, organising parking and developing road systems. Bicycle paths should be created as part of road construction or renovation.

It institutes a 2-level information and alert procedure, managed by the Prefect, who must inform the public and take emergency measures in case the alert threshold is exceeded (restriction of polluting activities, notably motor vehicle traffic).

It integrates pollution and nuisance principles into the framework of urban planning and into the impact assessment of equipment projects.

It defines national technical measures to reduce energy consumption and limit emission sources and establishes financial and fiscal measures (incentives for purchasing electrical vehicles, LPG or NGV, installation of pollution control systems on bus fleets).


Amongst the 18 decrees made pursuant to this law, the following can be mentioned:
Decree no. 2001-449 of 25 May 2001 relative to air protection plans and the measures to be implemented to reduce the emissions of air pollution sources, integrated into articles R222-13 to R222-36 of the Environmental Code

Decree no. 98-361 of 6 May 1998 relative to the accreditation of air quality monitoring bodies, integrated into articles R221-9 to R221-14 of the Environmental Code

Decree no. 98-360 of 6 May 1998 relative to the monitoring of air quality and its effect on health and the environment, air quality objectives, alert thresholds and limit values, integrated into articles R221-1 to R221-8 and R223-1 to R223-4 of the Environmental Code

Articles R224-20 à R224-320 of the environmental code relative to the minimum efficiency and equipment of boilers with a capacity of 400 kW to 50 MW

Decree no. 97-432 of 29 April 1997 relative to the national air Council, integrated into articles D221-16 to D221-21 of the Environmental Code