The people of Małopolska deserve clean air

Tomorrow, on 1 May, regulations will come into force that will restrict the use of non-environmental coal and wood-fired boilers in the Małopolskie Voivodeship.  The introduction of restrictions on the use of off-grade boilers and on-site space heaters not meeting ecodesign requirements is a well-thought-out solution, constituting the most important element of Małopolska’s anti-smog policy. This solution is a key corrective measure to ensure that the objective of achieving acceptable standards of air pollution is met.

Anti-smog resolution for Małopolska region

The anti-smog resolution for Małopolska region does not introduce a ban on burning wood and coal, but sets out the parameters for these fuels. The resolution’s main objective is to replace heating devices with low-emission and more efficient ones. The anti-smog resolution for Małopolska regiondoes not mandate the replacement of equipment with a specific heating source. It is possible to install various devices, including heat pumps, gas boilers, pellet-fuelled devices, wood gasification boilers, electric heating, installations connected to the district heating network, and even modern coal-fired boilers (ecodesign).  The choice of replacement heating source is a matter for the individual and depends on the solutions available to the household. The legislation was enacted in January 2017 and provided a 7.5-year transition period for the replacement of off-grade boilers and a 10-year transition period for the replacement of class 3 and 4 boilers. The transitional period was due to taking into account the need to obtain the necessary approvals, carry out the work related to replacing the heat source and modernising the installation, or obtain subsidies for the implementation of the investment by residents. The anti-smog resolution applies to anyone with a coal or wood-fired heater in their home or flat. Regardless of whether it is used to heat the home or to heat water, or for recreational purposes (fireplaces).

The Małopolska anti-smog resolution provides an opportunity for exploitation:

  • from 1 July 2017, new boilers meeting at least the Ecodesign requirements and equipped with an automatic fuel feeder and local solid fuel space heaters meeting at least the Ecodesign requirements,
  • solid fuel boilers not meeting any standards (below class 3) until no later than the end of April 2024,
  • solid fuel boilers of classes 3 and 4 no later than the end of 2026,
  • class 5 boilers until the end of their technical lifetime,
  • fireplaces, kitchen stoves that do not meet the Ecodesign requirements or do not achieve a thermal efficiency of at least 80% by the end of April 2024, except that it is possible to bring them into line with these requirements.

Information activities

In Małopolska, information activities concerning the anti-smog resolution are being carried out. For many years the voivodeship has been providing training for local authorities, preparing educational materials, organising social campaigns, and joining pilot projects to facilitate the replacement of cookers. It was Małopolska that was the first in the country to set up a network of eco-managers who support residents in the process of replacing coal-burning cookers on a daily basis in municipal offices. Today, we already have around 250 eco-advisors across the region. We have also secured EU funding for their posts. We mobilised funds for control activities dedicated to municipal/municipal guards. By doing so, we wanted to solve the staffing and financial problem of many municipalities.

How many boilers are still to be replaced in Małopolska region?

According to data from the Central Register of Building Emissions, maintained by the Central Office of Building Supervision, there are approximately 126 thousand below class 3 or classless boilers in the Małopolskie Voivodeship. It is estimated that there are between 40-50 thousand installations which are independent, i.e. the only source of heat. This means that other, also ecological, sources of heat are available in some properties. Therefore, after 1 May 2024, they should be the main source of heat. Off-grade appliances will not be allowed to operate.

Decommissioning of coal-fired cookers and boilers

Since the anti-smog resolution for Małopolska came into force, i.e. between 2017 and 2023, more than 95,000 out-of-class boilers have been replaced. It can be assumed that this figure is much higher, as heating appliances replaced without financial subsidies were not recorded in past years.

The unquestionable leader in replacing boilers is the City of Kraków. It is followed by municipalities such as Skawina, Myślenice, Wieliczka, Tarnów, Chrzanów, Liszki, Zabierzów, the City of Nowy Targ and Niepołomice.

The measures taken in Małopolska region between 2017 and 2023 made it possible to reduce PM10 emissions by 3,737 tonnes.

Funding for boiler replacement from the Clean Air Programme

The nationwide programme of subsidies for the replacement of old cookers and insulation of single-family houses is very popular. The programme is increasingly tailored to a larger group of beneficiaries each year. Recently, it has been particularly geared towards helping the poorest. Residents of Małopolska region are very keen to take advantage of financial assistance for replacing heat sources from the Clean Air Programme. According to data from the Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Kraków, since the beginning of the programme’s operation (2018 – 2023), Małopolska residents have submitted 81.2 thousand applications, and the total amount of funds paid out in this period is more than PLN 741.8 million.

Information and education activities – Project LIFE IP Małopolska in a healthy atmosphere

Since 2015, the LIFE Integrated Project “Implementation of the Air Protection Programme for the Małopolska Voivodeship – Małopolska in a healthy atmosphere” has been implemented in Małopolska region, with the aim of effective implementation of the Air Protection Programme and efficient use of available EU and national funds for improving air quality. The project’s flagship activity was the creation of a network of eco-advisers employed in municipalities to support residents in the process of replacing coal-burning cookers on a daily basis. This was a pioneering idea on a national scale. At present, in the Małopolska region, we have around 250 environmental advisors employed in 178 municipalities.

As part of the LIFE project, the Marshal’s Office is implementing information, education and promotion campaigns. One of these was a campaign to distribute air purifiers to kindergartens, nurseries and children’s clubs. The purifiers were handed over to 1 800 facilities across the voivodeship.
A project to create a network of air pollution meters with interactive information boards for schools in the Małopolska voivodeship was also implemented in 2022 – 116 municipalities participated in the project.

Information about the anti-smog resolution and the impact of smog on human life was also conveyed in broad-based public campaigns. Campaigns were implemented in the press and radio stations, among others.

Air quality in the Małopolska region

A number of implemented provincial as well as local measures have a very clear effect on air quality in Małopolska region.

According to the annual air quality assessments provided by the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection, the number of days with PM10 dust and PM 2.5 levels exceeded has fallen significantly over the past several years.

* measurement series from the station Krakow, Al. Krasińskiego were not used in the air quality assessment for 2022 due to too low a percentage of valid data caused by technical reasons, independent of the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection

The improvement in air quality in Krakow and Małopolska is particularly evident during the heating season from October to March. The average concentration of PM10 dust between the 2014-2015 winter season (the period before the introduction of the anti-smog resolution for Krakow and Małopolska) and the 2023-2024 season fell by 51% in Małopolska, including as much as 57% in Krakow and 49% outside Krakow.

1 May – what’s next?

The deadline of 1 May is crucial and is indeed the time when the use of classless appliances will not be allowed, but it is the period when the heating season is about to end. What this means in practice for many residents is that they will gain a few months before the next season to replace their cooker, if they have not already done so.

Anyone wishing to replace their cooker, insulate their home or install RES equipment should first of all contact the eco-advisor in their municipality. There he/she will obtain detailed information and advice on the use of ecological heating. Contact details for environmental advisors can be found at