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POLAND: Fuel Quality Bill

President Duda signed into law the bill on the system of monitoring and controlling the quality of fuels. The bill introduces norms, which ban the sale of sludge coal, flotation concentrates and certain other compounds. These restrictions will apply to households and other thermal installations which do not exceed 1 MW. Retailers will be obliged to provide customers with quality certificates for the fuel sold. The certificates will provide necessary information regarding the fuel’s energy specification. Inspections will be carried out at warehouses and border crossings, however consumers will not fall under their scope. Fines will be issued to retailers who fail to adhere to these restrictions.

In February, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Poland, in the years 2007-2015 exceeded the limit values for PM10 concentrates in the ambient air. No fines were issued, however the ruling was a clear sign that Poland has to introduce measures to improve air quality and decrease pollution. The government currently wants to focus on improving house insulation and subsidise transitions to better heating equipment and high-quality fuel. In June, PM Morawiecki stated that tackling smog in Poland is “a marathon” – results of which will not be seen immediately. He estimated that the government will spend as much as 130 billion on combating air pollution in the next decade, which might not be enough – as the World Bank argues. Still, the 180 million earmarked for the initial thermo-modernisation project is a symbolic amount, experts argue. Many commentators did not expect that smog would receive continuous attention from decision-makers. Usually, in Poland, the issue is only a big media topic in winter when the conditions worsen. Continuing works throughout the year might be a sign that the government is serious about this policy.