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In this section you’ll find our series of Articles on specific Actions and our Urban Case Studies where we look at local implementation of the Actions.

Urban Case Study #5: Better air quality planning – anti-smog activities in the Małopolska region, Poland

The challenge: Introducing Better Regulation

According to the European Environmental Agency, Kraków is the third most polluted city in Europe. Poor air quality can have detrimental health effects and has been a long-standing issue in Poland.

Under its Action 2, “Better Air Quality Planning”, the Urban Agenda Partnership on Air Quality has identified that if ¾ of European currently live in cities, air quality planning does not automatically fall under the responsibility of cities in the EU.

This led the Partnership to produce two outcomes on the topic calling on improved coordination at different levels of governance and within cities to improve cities air quality and consequently citizen's health and improve coordination within cities between air, health, energy, transport, and urban planning, considering the contributions that could come from the involvement of citizens in urban policy development.

The outputs are the:

The case of Poland and the rise of anti-smog activities

In recent years, an acceleration of anti-smog activities was possible thanks to the LIFE Integrated Project for the Małopolska Region: “Małopolska in a healthy atmosphere” implemented by the regional authorities of the Małopolska Region and Silesian Region, 55 municipalities including the City of Krakow as well as grassroots initiatives such as the ‘Krakow Smog Alert’.

In 2016, the Regional Assembly of the Małopolska Region adopted a ban on coal and wood as heating fuels in Krakow starting in September 2019, through a specific Municipal Regulation (the so-called anti-smog resolution).

The acceptance for these new laws by the city inhabitants wouldn’t be possible without the long and active engagement of initiatives such as the ‘Krakow Smog Alert’ and support from regional and local authorities, who offered subsidies of up to 100% for the replacement of solid fuel boilers replacement and additional assistance in covering the differences in heating costs for people affected by energy poverty.

At the beginning of 2018, less than 10,000 boilers and stoves remained in Krakow out compared to the 24,000 counted in 2015.

More Information

See all the Partnership's Actions in the Monitoring Table of Actions

About the Partnership Air Quality

About Action 2: The Code of Good Practices (including the Polish case) and the European Catalogue of Air Quality Measure