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The Independent Online
Ozone smogs in summertime should be eliminated by 2005, environment ministers from eight European nations meeting in London agreed yesterday. Last summer Britain had smog episodes on 15 days while Belgium, across the North Sea, had them on 32.

The lung-irritating pollution, which can give asthmatics severe discomfort, is caused mainly by traffic fumes and emissions from industry and power stations. To hit the newly announced target, emissions will have to be curbed by 60 per cent or more.

''It's an ambitious one but it shows we mean business,'' said John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Environment, who chaired the two-day meeting aimed mainly at giving political momentum to international negotiations on cross-border air pollution, which is where the most important decisions on curbing smog will be taken.

The eight countries from North-west Europe, including Germany and France, agreed to exchange information on how traffic curbs can reduce smogs, and draw up common health warnings for the public when high pollution levels are forecast. Being close together, they share both pollution and smogs.