On 29 September 2022, the Polish Sejm passed the Act on the principles of implementation of programmes to support undertakings in connection with the situation on the energy market from 2022 to 2024 (the Act).
The Act has already been signed into law by the President of Poland.
The purpose of the Act is to provide undertakings with State support that has become necessary due to price increases in the electricity and natural gas markets.
One of the solutions adopted by the Act is the exclusion of criminal liability for non-compliance with the local laws passed by the province assemblies on solid fuels permitted for use with respect to:
– solid products generated during the thermal processing of lignite and intended for burning (briquettes).
Under the current environmental regulations there is a ban on placing lignite on the market, but the Act lifts the ban from 15 September 2022 (retroactively) to 30 April 2023 and excludes criminal liability for the above.
After the ban on placing lignite and lignite briquettes on the market is lifted and criminal liability for non-compliance with the local anti-smog laws is excluded, lignite may be freely purchased by households.
These changes mean that the State is giving priority to ad hoc economic interests over the right to clean air. It is to be hoped that this is a temporary solution, given that the high standards for fuel quality that have been put in place have recently contributed to a number of grassroots and local government initiatives to improve air quality.