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Statement of the Ministry of Environment concerning the verdict of the CJEU regarding air quality

Poland is consistently striving to improve air quality. However, due to many years of neglect in this area, these activities require time and cooperation at the level of government administration and local governments, as well as citizens' involvement.

The Ministry of Environment informs that at the moment Poland is not threatened by any financial sanctions resulting from today’s verdict announced by the CJEU. Poland is not the only country facing difficulties in reaching the acceptable level of PM10. Currently, 20 Member States are affected by this issue.

Activities of the Ministry of Environment towards air quality improvement
By 2020 the Ministry of the Environment will spend over 10 billion PLN in total on air quality improvement measures.

Poland's poor air quality is caused mainly by waste incineration, as well as the use of poor quality fuel in domestic boilers, which are often outdated and obsolete. This is why we are willing to spend money on connecting households to district heating and gas networks, as these are some of the most effective ways to combat smog.

The Ministry of Environment also conducts educational campaigns, aimed at raising awareness regarding fuels which can be used for heating purposes, the methods of combustion aimed at reducing its harmful impact on the environment, as well as presenting information about obtaining subsidies for installing heat insulation in homes or replacing old, highly-polluting boilers.

Additionally, thanks to the Environmental Protection Law Act amended by the Ministry of Environment, local authorities may define type and quality requirements for fuels and heating devices used in a given area.  On the basis of these regulations anti-smog resolutions were adopted in the city of Krakow, as well as for the following voivodeships: Lesser Poland, Silesian, Opole, Masovian, Łódź, Greater Poland and Lower Silesian.  

Inter-ministerial cooperation

Improving air quality requires both time and coordinated action at the level of government and local authorities. The Ministry the Environment cooperates with all stakeholders in this area.

Last year, on the initiative of the Ministry the Environment, one of the key regulations for improving air quality – the quality requirements for boilers – was adopted. This means that from July 2018 only boilers meeting the most stringent ecological requirements will be available for purchase.

The provisions regarding quality standards for fuel used by residents are also nearing completion, and they are going to eliminate the most harmful fuels from the market.

“Clean Air” Programme

The “Clean Air” Programme provides, among other things, for a reduction of electricity tariffs, which took place in 2017.

On the 7th of February 2018, the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels was published. It amends the Excise Duty Act, which includes proposals for instruments to support low-carbon transport in Poland. These include tax support instruments, including exemptions from public charges.

The air quality monitoring network in Poland is also being developed within the framework of the programme.  This system has been supplemented by mathematical modelling of the dispersion of air pollutants, which will be performed at the national level.

In addition, the first stage of training of over 300 social workers from the Municipal Social Welfare Centres, who acquire the skills required to become energy advisers, has been completed.

We are also working on incentives for low-carbon transport and the introduction of solutions to create low-carbon zones in cities. Taking into account that the "Clean Air” Programme has been in place since April 2017, we believe that a significant part of the its premises has been completed and the works on the implementation of other solutions is well advanced.

A number of ministries are involved in activities aimed at improving air quality in Poland: the Ministries of Environment, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Infrastructure, Energy, Internal Affairs and Administration, Family, Labour and Social Policy, as well as the Ministry of Health. 

We all work towards effective improvement of air quality in Poland. These actions are already producing first results. The Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection draws attention to the trend of improving air quality in our country, in accordance with the requirements of EU and national law.

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