Environment 6 June, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish smog-fighting regulations to be ready before October

“Emissions requirements for new solid-fuel boilers, preferential loans for stove replacements, subsidized stove fuel for the poorest – these are some of the solutions that will be enforced before this year’s heating season”, announced the Vice-Minister of Development, Jadwiga Emilewicz.

In an interview with the Polish Press Agency, the Vice-Minister informed that on 23 May, the European Commission ended the notification period on the regulation on emission requirements for new solid-fuel boilers. This means Member States did not submit any observations regarding the new law.

“The Environmental Protection Act will be amended. We have been ensured by the Environment Ministry that the necessary changes, which will include the regulations on solid-fuel boilers, will be completed during the summer holidays. As of the 1st of October it will be illegal to produce, or place on the market solid-fuel boilers that will not have the highest 5th class,” she explained.

The new rules say that if a company produces a heating boiler in a class lower than 5, it will be allowed to sell and install it until the end of June 2018. From mid-2018 it will not be allowed to place the product on the market, or to install boilers whose class is lower than 5. The regulation will also ban emergency grates in the boilers design. Today, the grates are often used to burn trash.

The goal of the new regulations on emissions limits for solid-fuel boilers is to eliminate from the market, boilers that do not meet the basic norms when it comes to dust emission and other harmful compounds.  The new restrictions will apply to boilers with a heat output of up to 500 kW, i.e. stoves that are used in households.

The Vice-Minister also announced that on 1 October, a new smog-fighting program should be ready. On the one hand, the plan will offer preferential loans for boiler replacement, and on the other, subsidies for the poorest people for boiler replacement and purchase of suitable fuel.

Emilewicz explained that long-term and low-interest loans for boiler replacement would be granted by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK). The Ministry of Environment and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management will be responsible (NFOŚiGW) for the latter part of the program.

The Vice-Minister pointed out that the poorest people often do not realize, or do not know how to fill in an application for subsidies. Social services, she continued, should provide the necessary support in this regard. “Employees of Municipal Social Welfare Centers have the best insight, know their local environment and they should provide the available solutions,” she assessed.   

She also informed that before the start of this year’s heating season, a thermo isolation program for single family dwellings should be opened. “The Ministry of Development has already held two meetings with the Infrastructure and Construction Ministry on this topic. Other meetings will be held with the Environment Ministry, BGK and NFOŚiGW. In accordance with the Clean Air program, the scheme should be ready by the end of June, so that it can be launched before the heating season starts,” explained Emilewicz.