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Poland

Environmental rules

Updated 12/2012

Legal requirements

In accordance with the Environmental Protection Act, businesses are required to pay for the emission of gas and dust into the atmosphere, the discharge of wastewater into the environment (water or soil), water consumption and for landfilling of waste.

There is a system of environmental charges in Poland, which include charges for the emission of gas and dust into the atmosphere, water consumption, the discharge of waste into water or soil, and for landfilling of waste. The charges are set out in the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 2008. Charges are determined each year and published as an announcement by the Minister of the Environment.

Businesses are required to become familiar with and adhere to environmental protection regulations.

Environmental control

Waste management

The Waste Management Act requires that each waste holder keep a qualitative and quantitative waste register in accordance with the relevant waste catalogue and the list of hazardous waste. This requirement does not apply to municipal waste producers, producers of end-of-life vehicle waste if the vehicles have not been handed over to a vehicle dismantling entity or an entity collecting end-of-life vehicles, as well as natural persons or organisational units which are not businesses and which use waste for their own needs.

Irrespective of the requirements imposed on waste holders by these legal acts, holders of a particular waste type must also meet the requirements of the following special acts:

Chemical substances

Water

The Water Law sets out general rules for water protection, including prohibitions or restrictions on the use of water. It also provides secondary legislation that specifies the quality standards of wastewater discharged to water or land.

In addition, the issues related to the discharge of industrial wastewater into the sewage system are regulated by the Act on the Collective Water Supply and Collective Wastewater Disposal.

Climate and the atmosphere

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its supplement, the Kyoto Protocol are the basic documents concerned with climate protection in Poland.

The Emissions Trading System covers laws, information and all issues related to charges for the emission of greenhouse gases and other substances into the atmosphere.

Noise protection

Certain entities, as indicated by law, are obliged to measure environmental noise. The subjective and substantive scope is specified in the following regulation:

The Environmental Protection Act lays down the following requirements:

  • The requirement of meeting acoustic standards as set out in the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment.
  • When acoustic standards are exceeded (LAeq D and LAeq N), environmental protection bodies issue a decision on the permissible sound level in the environment.
  • IPPC permits are issued to installations together with an analysis of the acoustic environmental impact (LAeq D and LAeq N)

Radiation protection

Activities involving exposure to radiation are governed by the Nuclear power law:

Inspections

The Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection, voivodeship environmental inspectors as well as employees of the Inspectorate for Environmental Protection (inspectors) authorised by these bodies carry out inspections on entities using the environment. The mode and scope of inspection procedures by the Inspectorate for Environmental Protection are governed by the Act on the Inspectorate for Environmental Protection:

Voivodeship marshals, starosts as well as commune heads and mayors can also check whether the environmental protection regulations are observed.

Businesses are inspected according to the rules set out in the Freedom of Business Act.

The Inspectorate for Environmental Protection checks whether entities that use the environment observe permissible noise levels as set out in the Regulation below as well as in the decision of relevant bodies (decision on permissible noise levels or IPPC permit) if such decisions have been issued.

Supervision over the activities related to the use of ionizing radiation is exercised by the National Atomic Energy Agency acting as a nuclear safety office:

Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.

Administrative procedures

Submission of declarations

Waste management

Businesses that place batteries or accumulators on the Polish market in Poland as well as businesses that process the spent batteries or accumulators are required to register with the register maintained by the Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection.

Businesses that place equipment on the Polish market, collect discarded equipment, run processing plants, carry out recycling or recovery processes other than recycling, as well as organisations recovering electrical and electronic goods must be entered in the register maintained by the Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection.

In accordance with the provisions of the Regulation below, a waste holder may be exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit for performing activities connected with the collection and transport of waste. In this case the waste holder is required to send a notification to the starost. The starost adds such a waste holders to the relevant register.

Chemical substances

Registration dossiers for substances as well as notifications on substance classification are submitted to the European Chemicals Agency through the REACH-IT website. Notifications of placing of dangerous preparations on the market are lodged with the for Chemical Substances and Preparations.

Water

In accordance with the provisions of Water Law, businesses are required to possess a water permit if they carry out activities connected with:

  • water management (for example, consumption of surface and groundwater or the discharge of wastewater to water or land) in specified amounts;
  • discharge of industrial wastewater containing substances particularly harmful to aquatic environments into sewage systems owned by other entities.

Climate and the atmosphere

The national procedure of the approval and implementation of projects:

  • preparation of a Project Idea Note (the so-called PIN) and its submission to the Ministry of the Environment and the National Centre for Emissions Balancing and Management,
  • publication by the Minister of the Environment of an initial Letter of Endorsement (LoE) based on PIN and the National Centre for Emissions Balancing and Management documents,
  • preparation of a Project Design Document (the so-called PDD), including setting a base line and a monitoring plan, followed by their submission to the Ministry of the Environment and to the National Centre for Emissions Balancing and Management, Project evaluation by an international Accredited Independent Entity, followed by sending its Determination Report to the Ministry of the Environment and to the National Centre for Emissions Balancing and Management,
  • approval of the project by the Ministry of the Environment by issuing a Letter of Approval (LoA) on the basis of the PDD, an evaluation report, and an opinion of the National Centre for Emissions Balancing and Management,
  • implementation of an investment project as part of a JI project,
  • monitoring of the JI project: the ongoing monitoring of the implemented investment project (in respect of the emission effects achieved) under the JI project by the entity implementing the project,
  • verification of the project by an independent entity: the verification of the reduction of emissions under the project,
  • transfer of Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) to the acquiring entity or to the signatories of Annex 1 of the Climate Convention.

Permits and licences

Waste management

Depending on the type of business activity, waste holders must obtain:

  • a permit for the production of waste generated in connection with the operation of an installation if it produces more than 1 Mg of hazardous waste annually or more than 5 000 Mg of non-hazardous waste annually;
  • a decision approving a hazardous waste management programme if more than 0.1 Mg of hazardous waste is produced annually;
  • a permit for the recovery and disposal of waste; 
  • a permit for the collection and transport of waste;
  • producers of waste operating installations for which an IPPC permit is required, as referred to in environmental protection regulations, are not required to obtain these permits.

Applications for these permits should be submitted to the appropriate body: depending on the scale of the venture, it is either the voivodeship marshal or the starost responsible for the place where waste is produced. The scope of operations run should be stated in the application.

Producers of hazardous waste are required to apply for approval of a hazardous waste management plan (plans are enclosed with applications) to the appropriate body 30 days before the production of hazardous waste commences and when the production changes affecting the type and amount of hazardous waste produced or the way it is managed.

Chemical substances

Registration dossiers for the use of substances listed in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation are submitted to the European Chemicals Agency through the REACH-IT website. Applications for permission to import and export hazardous chemicals are submitted to the Bureau for Chemical Substances and Preparations. Applications for exemption from requirements of the biodegradation of surfactants are submitted to the Bureau for Chemical Substances and Preparations.

Water

Water permits are issued in accordance with the provisions of water law by the appropriate administrative body: starost, voivodeship marshal or director of the regional water management board. Decisions are issued upon request of entities carrying out business operations. An aquatic legal survey and other documents required in a given case should be enclosed with the application.

Climate and the atmosphere

Organisational units emitting pollution into the air are required to obtain gas and dust emission permits. These permits specify emission standards. Issuing of permits for pollution emission is regulated by:

Permits for the emission of pollution into the air are issued for a period of 10 years.

In addition, Polish law specifies which installations do not require pollution emission permits. Nonetheless, their operation must be notified. These issues are set out in:

Radiation protection

Certain types of activities require a permit:

IPPC permits

An IPPC permit is one of the types of permits for the emission of substances or energy into the environment. It replaces the following 'component' permits: A permit for gas and dust emission into the atmosphere, a water permit for discharging wastewater to water or land, a permit for waste production, and a water permit for water consumption. These permits are issued by the voivodeship marshal or starost.

The permit must take into account the total impact of pollution onto all spheres of the environment as well as the requirement to use the Best Available Technologies.

Inspections

Waste management

Depending on the type of business activity, waste holders must obtain:

  • a permit for the production of waste generated in connection with the operation of an installation if it produces more than 1 Mg of hazardous waste annually or more than 5 000 Mg of non-hazardous waste annually;
  • a decision approving a hazardous waste management programme if more than 0.1 Mg of hazardous waste is produced annually;
  • a permit for the recovery and disposal of waste; 
  • a permit for the collection and transport of waste;
  • all the permit elements should be included in the IPPC permit.

Applications for these permits should be submitted to the appropriate body: depending on the place of running business, it is either the voivodeship marshal, the starost or the district director for environmental protection for undertakings and events on restricted premises. The scope of operations run should be stated in the application.

Producers of hazardous waste are required to apply for approval of a hazardous waste management plan (plans are enclosed with applications) to the appropriate body 30 days before the production of hazardous waste commences and when the production changes affecting the type and amount of hazardous waste produced or the way it is managed.

Chemical substances

Adherence to the provisions of acts and regulations such as REACH is controlled by the State Sanitary Inspectorate.

or the State Sanitary Inspectorate of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, as applicable, and

  • Inspectorate for Environmental Protection;
  • National Labour Inspectorate;
  • Trade Inspectorate;
  • State Fire Service;
  • customs bodies.

Climate and the atmosphere

The Inspectorate for Environmental Protection inspects entities that operate installations that emit gas and dust to air.

When permissible emission limits set out in permits are exceeded, the voivodeship inspector for environmental protection levies a financial penalty.

Noise protection

When noise levels set out in a decision on permissible noise levels or an IPPC permit are exceeded, the voivodeship inspector of environmental protection issues a penalty decision.

  • When the conditions of the decision on permissible noise levels or the IPPC permit are not met, the voivodeship inspector for environmental protection may issue a decision suspending the operation of an installation.

Radiation protection

Entities participating in inspections:

Resources

The Environment Protection Committee of the National Chamber of Commerce is composed of commercial specialists in environment protection and operates in the following scope:

  • raising environmental awareness among the businesses and society,
  • environmental management systems as per the international standards,
  • energy-efficient solutions and minimizing pollution with regard to the power generation sector and alternative (renewable) energy sources,
  • providing opinion on the drafts of environmental regulations, monitoring provisions of law for environment footprint and in relation to running business activity,
  • presenting the best green water and waste management technologies,
Help & advice

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