World News

Czechs shun Polish appeal against EU pollution crackdown

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech government balked at joining Poland and Bulgaria in an appeal against a European Commission decision to impose stricter limits on toxic pollutants emitted by coal-fired plants, the environment minister said on Wednesday.

Bulgaria this month said it would back Poland in the appeal, arguing the new rules pose risks to energy security and economic competitiveness.

The Czech Republic relies on coal for half of its electricity production. CTK news agency reported on Tuesday that the industry ministry had recommended joining the appeal.

Environment Minister Richard Brabec said, however, the appeal had little chance of success and the government had decided against participating.

“The decision means we will not join any attempt to soften these limits,” he told reporters after a government meeting.

“We are convinced there is no hope for the suit to succeed, not even from the legal aspect, but the ecological aspect is also key.”

The EU decision taken last year imposes stricter limits on emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, mercury and particulate matter from large combustion plants in Europe.

Poland, which relies heavily on coal for power generation, has vowed to stick to the fossil fuel despite the EU’s requirements.

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Dale Hudson