The Polish government has launched the latest round of its “Clean Air” programme, which aims to tackle the country’s poor air quality by providing subsidies for households to upgrade to cleaner heating systems and to improve insulation.
Poland suffers from some of Europe’s worst air pollution, and the burning of coal and other polluting substances to heat homes is one of the biggest causes.
With a budget of 103 billion zloty (€22.5 billion) for the period 2018-2029, the programme is supposed to be the largest of its kind in Europe. However, it was initially hit by a number of problems that led to low uptake of the subsidies.
The new, third edition of the programme, which went into effect on Tuesday, is offering increased subsidies – of up to 69,000 zloty (€15,000) – for poorer households to modernise heating and insulation. Previously a maximum of 37,000 zloty was available.
It also includes new rules allowing for its subsidies to be combined with various local-level financing schemes as well as possible extensions of payments where there are delays in setting up gas installations by utility providers.
The programme will also allow for an extended catalogue of new heaters, including dual-fuel furnaces that burn wood and wooden pellets. Last year, the government moved to exclude cleaner, new-generation coal stoves from the scheme.
“We are trying to modify the offer of the Clean Air program so that it is available to the largest possible group of people,” said Bartłomiej Orzeł, the prime minister’s plenipotentiary for clean air. “We are meeting the needs of the poorest citizens, realising that it is very often their homes that require the most urgent support.”