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Carrying coals from Kraków

Opr./edited TC 10 September 2019
Carrying coals from Kraków
Around 4,500 inspections are to take place to enforce the anti-smog legislation

POLAND Kraków has become the first city in Poland to ban coal and wood fired boilers, stoves and fireplaces in a bid to banish smog from the city.

The resolution prohibiting the use of solid fuel for heating in the city was adopted by the regional council of the Małopolska province in mid-January 2016. Now it has finally come into force, the ban entails that buildings not connected to the municipal network can only be heated with gas or light heating oil. The restrictions also cover heavy garden and gastronomic barbecues (set up permanently), but the use of light, portable structures (barbecues, grates and spit-roasters) is permitted.

Since 1995 more than 45,000 coal hearths (25,000 in the years 2012–2019) have been removed. The city authorities estimate that there are still around 4,000 coal or wood fired stoves in around 1,000 buildings. These devices have not replaced mainly due to the unregulated legal status of the properties and ongoing inheritance processes, as well as due to the social and financial situations of the users, the poor technical condition of the buildings, the lack of consent of the co-owners of the properties for their replacement and that some of these buildings have been condemned for demolition.

At the end of 2019 and early 2020 street wardens, city officials and inspectors will carry out more than 4,500 inspections to enforce the resolution. Pollution analyses will be conducted using drones, thermal imaging cameras and suspended dust monitors. A breach of the resolution could result in an order, a fine ranging from PLN 20 to PLN 500, and legal proceedings in the event of refusals to accept the fine and penalties of up to PLN 5,000 in such an event.

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