On Monday (2 October 2017), the air quality control was started to be carried out by the European Court of Auditors began in Poland. The audit is aimed at reviewing the projects implemented for the air quality improvement and financed by the European Commission.

From 3 to 6 October. The audit is being conducted in the Malopolska Region. The following projects are subject to review:

  1. “Implementation of Air Quality Plan for Małopolska Region – Małopolska in a healthy atmosphere” integrated project
  2. Low emission program for the city of Krakow
  3. Thermomodernization of educational buildings in the Municipality of Krakow
  4. Integrated public transport in the Krakow agglomeration – 2nd stage
  5. Construction of flue gas NOx system for boilers no. 3 and 4 in EDF Polska SA Branch No. 1 in Krakow

On the first day of the audit, the strategy for air quality improvement for the Malopolska Region – the air quality plan for the Malopolska Region, financial support for the regional energy policy from the ROP MR for 2014-2020, the activities of the Voivodeship Inspectorate for Environmental Protection in Krakow within the inspections conducted in municipalities were discussed. At the end of the day, the ECA inspectors visited the measurement station located at Karsińskiego Avenue and the National Reference and Calibration Laboratory of the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection.

On the second day of the audit, the objectives and assumptions of the “Implementation of Air Quality Plan for Małopolska Region – Małopolska in a healthy atmosphere” LIFE integrated project were presented together with the results of the implementation of the program. The employees hired within the framework of the Eco-Adviser project, from the municipalities of Gdów, Wolbrom Wadowice and Zakopane, presented their actions taken locally in terms of improving air quality. The activities in the LIFE project were also presented by the City of Krakow and the Krakow Smog Alert. It is worth recalling that the LIFE-IP MALOPOLSKA project was positively evaluated by the European Commission and considered the best of the 39 integrated projects reported from the European Union.

During the meetings, the barriers to the successful implementation of activities were repeatedly pointed out, including the lack of legislation regulating the quality parameters of solid fuels allowed for the sale to individuals, specifying the procedures for controlling the emissions from operating boilers for solid fuels or regulations enabling the implementation of restricted emission zones in urban centers. Attention was also paid to the suspension at national level of co-financing for the replacement of heating appliances (the KAWKA program) and for the thermomodernization of single-family buildings (the RYŚ program).

At the same time, the Supreme Chamber of Control launched the control over the planning, implementation and monitoring of the activities of the Marshal’s Office of the Malopolska Region aimed at achieving the required air quality in the voivodship.

The Malopolska Region has for many years been innovating in the Polish scale within its competence, which has been aimed at improving the air quality and living conditions of the inhabitants. However, the lack of support at the national level means that the effectiveness of the measures taken is limited and the possibility of achieving rapid improvements in the air quality in the region is threatened.

Let’s recall that the European Court of Auditors is an independent external controller of the European Commission. It is responsible for monitoring the correct collection and use of EU funds and helps to improve the EU financial management. The ECA’s audit in Poland shall last until 6 October 2017. The audit is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment. Similar controls are being carried out in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.