Prague, May 23 (CTK) – The lower house of Czech parliament on Wednesday passed an amendment to the law on air protection that would extend the due periods for checks of boilers in homes from the current two to three years, while their price range would be determined by an Environemt Ministry regulation.
The amendment is now to be debated by the Senate. It is to give municipalities the power to ban certain fuels in home boilers.
This could apply, according to ANO MP Eva Fialova, to brown coal, coal dregs and lignite. The ban should apply to boilers with the input power of 300 Kilowatts. It would not be relevant to boilers for water central heating that meet the required emission limits.
The extension of the due period on boiler checks is connected with the effort to define the upper price limit of these checks, which varies with regions and can reach up to several thousands of crowns. People will be able to seek out a trained expert in the Environment Ministry’s database, which will contain data from boiler producers.
On the other hand, the deputies refused Civic Democrat (ODS) MP Jan Zahradnik’s proposal which wanted to tighten the terms of official checks of boilers in households. Zahradnik wanted the authority to alert the house owner of the check in writing in advance.
Currently, the owner is facing a sanction for not enabling access to the boiler to the authority.
MP Dana Balcarova (Pirates) proposed to cancel the exemptions from emission limits granted to big polluters by the end of 2025. Her proposal was rejected and her opponents argued that it might threaten the country’s energy self-sufficiency.
The Czech Friends of the Earth (Hnuti Duha) and Greenpeace environmental organisations criticised the rejection of the proposal. Nearly two thirds of people in the Czech Republic live in areas in which the emission limits are exceeded and 11,000 people die prematurely every year due to the pollution, they said.
The amendment to the law on air protection also deals with biofuels. It makes the addition of some type of biofuels to petrol or diesel oil more advantageous for the producers and it is to lower the producers’ costs. The changes are in line with EU regulations.
In 2015, Czech right-wing opposition parties initiated a no-confidence vote in the centre-left government in the lower house over tax advantages for biofuels. They claimed that the government was corrupt and supported the business of ANO leader and then deputy prime minister Andrej Babis whose giant Agrofert holding is involved in biofuel production. The government survived the vote.
Babis was the sole owner of Agrofert until early 2017 when he was forced to transfer it to trust funds when a new conflict of interest law was passed. Babis was finance minister in 2014-17. The ANO movement won the general election last autumn and he has been prime minister since December 2017.