New entitlements for municipal guard officers
The municipal guards gained new powers to impose fines for breaking the anti-smog resolutions. Amendment of the Regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration regarding offenses for which municipal guards are entitled to impose fines by way of a penalty ticket, entered into force on 1 November 2018. It introduced the possibility of imposing fines by way of a penalty ticket for offenses specified in art. 334 of the Environmental Protection Law.
Art. 334. Who does not comply with the restrictions, orders or prohibitions laid down in the resolution of the regional assembly adopted on the basis of art. 96, is subject to a fine.
This means that it is possible to enforce the requirements set out in the resolutions of the Małopolska Regional Assembly adopted on the basis of art. 96 of the Environmental Protection Law:
- Resolution No. XVIII/243/16 of the Małopolska Regional Assembly of 15 January 2016 on the introduction in the area of the Municipality of Kraków of restrictions on the operation of installations in which fuels are burned,
- Resolution No. XXXII /452/17 of the Małopolska Regional Assembly of 23 January 2017 on the introduction in the area of the Małopolska Region of restrictions and prohibitions in the area of the operation of installations in which fuels are burned,
- Resolution No. XXXV/527/17 of the Małopolska Regional Assembly of 24 April 2017 on the introduction in the area of the Municipality of Krakow, in the period from 1 July 2017 to 31 August 2019, prohibitions on the operation of installations in which fuels are burned.
The amount of the mandate can be up to 500 PLN. The case may also be directed to the court, which may impose a fine of up to 5,000 PLN.
Inspections of compliance with anti-smog resolutions may also be carried out by Police officers (Article 1 item 2 point 4 of the Police Act) and employees of the city or municipality office. In this case, personal authorization is required from the municipality mayor (Article 379 (2) of the Environmental Protection Act).
For what violations can you be fined?
In the case of Krakow residents, from 1 July 2017, the following types of smoking are forbidden:
- coal or brown coal with a grain size of 0-5 mm or with a calorific value below 26 MJ/kg or ash content above 10% or sulfur content above 0.8%,
- wood and other biomass with humidity above 20%.
However, from 1 September 2019, the burning ban will cover all solid fuels, including coal and wood.
Inhabitants of the remaining Małopolska region from 1 July 2017 were prohibited by:
- combustion of coal with a grain size of 0-3 mm,
- burning wood and other biomass with a moisture content above 20%,
- use of new boilers and fireplaces that do not meet the ecodesign requirements in terms of pollutant emissions and energy efficiency.
From 1 January 2023, the operating ban will cover all non-class boilers and fireplaces with thermal efficiency below 80%. Four years later, the use of class 3 and 4 boilers will also be banned.
Documents verified during the inspection
Persons who operate boilers, furnaces or fireplaces, are obliged to show during the inspection documents confirming compliance with the provisions of the anti-smog resolution. These are:
- Documents confirming the parameters of the coal used, eg certificate of coal quality, invoice containing information about the parameters of purchased coal. The buyer has the right to request this document from the fuel seller.
- Documents confirming that the heating device meets the requirements for emissions and efficiency (eg technical documentation of the device, instructions for use or test report).
In case of doubt, the inspectors have the right to take fuel samples for testing. They can also carry out on-site wood moisture testing using a hygrometer.
Training in conducting control over the anti-smog resolution requirements
In June 2017, the Marshal’s Office of the Małopolska Region conducted training for employees of municipal offices and officers of municipal guards in Małopolska. The training was conducted by WIOŚ experts in Krakow, IChPW in Zabrze, INiG in Krakow, City Guard of the City of Krakow and the Frank Bold Foundation. In addition to discussing the requirements of the anti-smog resolution, they also included the presentation of:
- types of boilers and fireplaces for which limitations have been introduced,
- types of fuels for which a ban has been imposed,
- legal and practical aspects of conducting control.
The employees of the municipalities also received the model documents: authorization for inspection, notification of inspection, application for punishment.
In 2017, the municipalities in Małopolska carried out a total of nearly 11,000 inspections of compliance with restrictions resulting from the provisions of anti-smog resolutions. The auditors detected more than 300 cases of infringements. From November 2018, in such cases it will be possible to impose criminal fines of up to 500 PLN.