WARSAW, June 29 (Reuters) - The Polish government is seeking
to suspend rules banning the worst-quality coal from the market,
citing soaring coal prices and risks of shortages of the fuel
Poland's climate ministry submitted a draft decree to
suspend the restrictions introduced in 2020 for 60 days, citing
the adverse changes the coal market stemming from Russia's
action in Ukraine.
The government in April introduced an immediate ban on
imports of Russian coal used mostly by individual households and
heating plants in smaller towns, assuring Poles there would be
no shortages of the fuel.
Meanwhile, coal prices for homeowners have roughly tripled
this year compared to 2021 to over 2,000 zlotys per tonne,
pushing the government to introduce subsidies for retail coal
buyers. Millions of Poles use coal to heat their
"Current exceptional situation directly affects energy
markets. As result there's a risk that citizens will not be able
to buy coal for heating, which may increase energy poverty," the
ministry said in an official rationale attached to the draft.
Poland is heavily dependent on coal, with around 80 percent
of its power production provided by coal-fired plants. In the
past years, the country has had the European Union's highest
ratio of premature deaths due to air pollution.
Activist group Polski Alarm Smogowy (PAS) said that measures
would make anti-smog policies toothless.
"This is scandalous. If worst types of coal will be burned
Poland's air quality will drastically suffer and so will the
health of all those breathing it," PAS spokesman Piotr Siergiej
(Reporting by Marek Strzelecki; editing by David Evans)