Minister Brabec met the Polish Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko. They discussed air quality and the possible expansion of the Turów Mine.

Minister Brabec met the Polish Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko. They discussed air quality and the possible expansion of the Turów Mine.

Having been invited by the Czech Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec, Jan Szyszko the Minister of the Environment of the Polish Republic arrived in the Czech Republic on Friday. Both Ministers talked about key issues concerning Czech-Polish cooperation over a working dinner. The main topics included air quality, in particular with regard to the quality of fuels used in domestic boilers, as well as the cross-border transfer of emissions, the possible future expansion of the Turów Mine in connection with a decrease in the levels of groundwater in the Czech-Polish border area and finally the light pollution emitted from greenhouses in Bogatynia, Poland.

One of the key topics of discussion on air quality was the new Polish legislative proposal concerning the quality of fuels, which is currently being worked on by the Polish Ministry of Energy in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment. "From the viewpoint of the Czech Republic it is important to ban the burning of poor-quality fuels in Polish households. The Czech Republic prohibits the burning of these fuels with its Air Protection Act. The target of our collaboration is to unite the requirements for the quality of fuels in both countries to the greatest degree possible,” said Minister Brabec at a meeting with his Polish counterpart.

The Ministers also concentrated on the issues relating to the threat of a significant drop in groundwater levels in the Czech border area in connection with the extraction of brown coal from the Turów Mine which according to Polish plans is to be expanded in the future. Minister Brabec informed his opposite number, who he regularly meets with, [1] that if a direct relationship between water loss and the extraction in Turów was established, it would be necessary to expend considerable amounts of finances to ensure alternative drinking water supplies for residents of the Czech border area. According to the preliminary calculations of the local water companies, the cost would amount to billions of crowns.

In response to this information Minister Szyszko promised: "Poland is ready to adopt compensatory measures if water shortage problems arise." Minister Brabec reacted to this statement by saying that the most important issue in this matter was to prevent these problems. "It is absolutely essential that such a situation does not occur at all, because the compensation does not actually mean water for the local people."

However, it will not be possible to establish with certainty the connection of groundwater shortage with extraction until the documentation for the planned Turów mining extension is presented to the Czech Republic by Poland this year and until the project of the Czech Geological Survey is prepared. "Its objective is to provide hydro-geological data for a clear assessment of the extent of the Turów extraction impact on groundwater and surface water in the Frýdlantsko and Hrádecko areas, to minimise the effects and identify possible corrective measures," explained Minister Brabec.

In their discussions the Ministers also touched on the issue of light pollution from the greenhouses located near the town of Bogatynia, Poland, near the Czech border. Minister Brabec thanked his Polish colleague for fitting the ten-hectare greenhouse with special shutters, which was successfully completed last year. Owing to them the level of light radiation, inconveniencing residents living along the Czech-Polish border [2], has dropped significantly. Recently there have been a few cases noted when the lights in the greenhouse were switched on but the blinds were not pulled down. The Polish Minister was informed about this matter and was asked for cooperation in dealing with this situation, which disturbs not only the residents but also the animals living in the nearby area.


[1] We reported on the meetings of both of the Ministers here and here.

[2] More information on the fitting of the shutters in greenhouses in Poland here.

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