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Kraków wins case over tougher air pollution law

The Regional Administrative Court in Poland has dismissed a complaint by some residents in Kraków on the so-called anti-smog resolution. The resolution, which comes into force on 1 September 2019, will prohibit burning fossil fuels, such as coal and wood in household stoves and boilers in order to improve air quality in the city.

Three years ago the provincial council in Poland passed a resolution prohibiting the use of solid fuels in Kraków, which – according to both authorities and citizens concerned about health impacts from smog – is the only way that can lead to an improvement in air quality in the city. Kraków is still in first place in an infamous ranking of the most polluted cities in Poland. Although the resolution is a great success for thousands of people engaged in grassroots initiatives such as the Kraków Smog Alert, it is still being challenged, for example by some discontented Kraków citizens.

How has the resolution evolved?
Last year, the Supreme Administrative Court cancelled the resolution, arguing that the local government would exceed its power by implementing it. Yet, less than a month after this decision, the Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act, giving local governments the ability to prohibit the use of coal stoves, as well as some other fuels in the city.

Following this, in January 2016, counsellors did start working on the resolution again but at the same time the Regional Administrative Court received four new complaints, which were considered at a court hearing in September, but officially rejected, resulting in proceeding works on the resolution implementation.

Although their complaints were rejected by the court, the issue may not be resolved completely. The applicants have already announced the submission of a cassation appeal directing the Environmental Protection Act to the Constitutional Court in the nearest future.

Originally posted on 28 October 2016

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