New air pollution limits introduced.

Switzerland has set itself new air pollution limits based on the Göteborg Protocol, which came into effect in the country on Tuesday.
The environment ministry says current legislation should allow targets set out in the international accord to be met by 2012.

has agreed to cut sulphur emissions by 40 per cent compared with 1990 levels, nitrous oxide (NOx) output by 52 per cent, ammonia emissions by 13 per cent and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by over half.

The aim is to reduce summer and the presence of ozone. The ministry hopes that by 2010 air quality will greatly improve in urban areas, especially in the southern canton of , which is largely affected by cross-border traffic with .

"When the 31 countries that signed the protocol have applied it, sulphur emissions in Europe will fall by 60 per cent, and emissions of ozone precursors – NOx and VOCs – will drop by 40 per cent," said the ministry in a statement.

To enforce the protocol's guidelines, the Swiss will not have to introduce new legislation.

"Based on current figures, we should reach our targets if we continue to apply the law in a consequent , especially air protection measures and pollution limits for motor vehicles," added the ministry.

This was not the case for the on gas emissions.

To have a chance of reaching the aims set out in the accord – to cut carbon dioxide emissions to ten per cent below 1990 levels by 2010 - the Swiss introduced a climate levy of 1.5 centimes per litre of petrol or diesel in October.

If these measures prove inadequate a further tax could be levied on fuel for transport.