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HEAL and EEB request EU Commission to review Polish pollution exemptions

HEAL and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) have submitted a request for internal review of an EU Commission decision regarding Polish emission exemptions. These are considered to be conflicting with ambient air quality standards for the protection of health.

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) regulates health-damaging pollution from large combustion plants and other installations. Although it sets stricter emission standards as of January 2016, many Member States, including Poland, have applied for a 4 to.5 year derogation from the law.

The Polish so-called Transitional National Plan (TNP) covers the emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides and particulate matter from 73 power plants. HEAL together with EEB requests the EU Commission to review its decision to approve the Polish TNP.

One important reason why HEAL asks for a review is that most of the power plants are located in zones where EU ambient air quality standards have continuously been breached. For 63 out of 73 plants at least one health relevant air pollutant is locally present at higher concentrations than the limit values set in the Directive on Ambient Air Quality 2008/50/EC for the protection of human health. In the vicinity of 26 power plants three different air pollutants exceed the local limits.

HEAL therefore considers that the decision to allow these power plants to pollute at higher levels until 2020 is in conflict with the EU’s and Poland’s air quality obligations.

As the power sector in Poland is one of the most important sources of classic air pollutants, no exemption should be granted in zones where air pollution is particularly bad.

The EU Commission must respond to the joint request within three months.

Joint press release, 14 April 2014 - EU extends life of Europe’s biggest polluter while IPCC calls for coal phase out

HEAL’s press release on the external health costs of the Polish TNP available here

Last updated on 14 April 2014

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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