Tourists on Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland

Poland’s top court upholds solid fuel ban for Krakow

Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court has upheld today the decision to ban solid coal and wood burning in Krakow.

The ruling follows an anti-smog resolution approved by Poland’s Regional Administrative Court.

The judgment today cannot be appealed. It also paves the way for similar local anti-smog resolutions to be passed.

Krakow and the surrounding Malopolska region are among the most polluted regions in the EU, especially for particulate matter (PM10), which has exceeded the annual legal limit for years.

Polish environmental institutions, regional administrations and activists say the main cause of harmful levels of PM10 is increased dust emissions from burning solid fuels for heating, in particular for domestic heating.

The anti-smog resolution was adopted by the regional authorities in January 2016 and was intended to eliminate the dust from domestic boilers used for solid fuels.

ClientEarth’s lawyers were involved in developing the local regulations, as well as amendments to the national environmental bill required for introducing such a ban.

ClientEarth lawyer Kamila Drzewicka said: “This is an extremely important judgment for everyone who cares about clean air in Poland. The resolution sets a standard that other cities and municipalities must follow to combat smog.

“The EU’s top court ruled last year that Poland was breaking air pollution laws by continuing to exceed annual limits of PM10. The ban on burning solid fuels, especially coal, seems to be the only effective way to oblige authorities to take action against this crisis and improve air quality in Poland.”

The ban will enter into force from 1 September 2019.

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Jacek Dylag