Czech government approves amendment introducing continuous monitoring of emissions

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-05-23   10:08
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The government today approved an amendment to the Air Protection Act, which, among other things, is to expand the number of companies obliged to continuously monitor pollution. Environment Minister Petr Hladík (KDU-ČSL) announced the decision at a press conference after a cabinet meeting. The draft will now go to Parliament. In addition to continuous monitoring of emissions of harmful substances, companies will also have to limit dust during construction or demolition.

The amendment expands the number of companies that will have to continuously monitor emissions of harmful substances. It also sets clear rules for one-off measurements of emissions and rules for companies that have to limit dust during construction or demolition," Hladík said. A number of measures aim to improve air quality in cities and municipalities, make more use of digital tools and reduce red tape.

Dust is to be reduced, the authority said, for example by gradually uncovering surfaces, using dust nets on scaffolding when reconstructing facades, minimising fall heights when materials are moved or by quickly planting greenery around buildings.

The results of the emissions measurements will now be transmitted exclusively digitally to a central registry, directly by the measuring groups. This, according to Hladik, will eliminate the administrative burden for companies. Until now, they have to send the measurement results in paper form to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute and the Czech Environmental Inspectorate.

"Thanks to the obligation to continuously check the technology, there will be no more guesswork as to whether companies are actually using filters or silencers continuously, even when pollutants are not being measured," the minister noted. The continuous monitoring obligation will affect 7,700 sources from 2026, but many operators have already installed continuous measurement, according to Hladik. From 2028, the obligation will be extended to the sectors of glass melting, minerals, petrochemicals, lime production, wood chip production and others.

Another part of the amendment is the introduction of minimum distances for residential buildings from sources of pollution, especially dust or odours. When planning a development for housing or amenities or, conversely, when locating, for example, a manufacturing plant close to houses, the municipality will have to take into account the minimum distance. It will usually be around 200 metres, up to a maximum of 500 metres, the ministry said in a press release. This will also apply to new plants if the operator or type of production changes in the current production area.

The pollution charge will also be newly increased by the inflation that has occurred since the last increase. Under the version approved today, the fee will continue to be increased annually for inflation.

The proposal also modifies low emission zones. "It allows a particular city to establish a low emission zone according to its parameters. It will not be determined by law, but the municipal council will determine which types, categories of vehicles will not be allowed, for example, in historic centres," the minister explained. The amendment also introduces the registration of entry into the low emission zone using license plates and linking the data to the vehicle registry, as well as the possibility of introducing individual exemptions for residents.

According to the ministry, town halls will also be able to respond better in smog situations and regulate more areas than just road traffic. "This means, for example, to temporarily favour public transport or to improve local air quality, for example, by temporarily restricting open fires or heating with supplementary sources such as fireplaces, or by regulating dusty activity from buildings," the ministry added.

According to Hladik, the government today also ordered the transport ministry to submit an analysis of the functionality of emission measurement stations and the interior ministry to intensify annual road inspections in the regions to measure vehicle emissions in cooperation with the police and the transport services centre.

Source: CTK

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