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The Ministry of Environment urges energy professionals to come up with quality requirements for solid fuel as soon as possible

2016-03-29

For a number of years now, officers in charge of State environmental control have been conducting „Kaminukas“ (Chimney) campaign targeted at reducing air pollution from heating installations and preventing illegal incineration of waste. Inspections are mostly worth the effort, since several hundreds of offenders are regularly brought to justice for illegal incineration of waste; however, the Ministry of Environment has recently learned of centrally sold biofuel pellets polluted with substances toxic to both human health and the environment.

A certain exchange in energy resources has addressed a letter to the Ministry of Environment suggesting there were substandard quality pellets now available on the market, possibly including chemically treated wood scrap. Analysis of a sample of wood pellets in question has found a concentration of formaldehyde exceeding 110 mg/kg. The company expressed concern that the pellets in question may be placed to a large scale use by the district heat suppliers.

To date there are no regulations in Lithuania governing the type of solid fuel to be used for heat generation, and there are no requirements applicable to the quality of solid fuel. The environmentalists have brought their concerns on the above issue to the specialists of the Ministry of Energy and the State Non Food Products Inspectorate as early as in previous autumn. However, following information made available in March 2016 of potential placement of solid fuel harmful to both environment and human health placed on the market and sold in centralised manner, the Ministry of Environment believes that competent institutions should immediately proceed to establishment of quality requirements applicable to solid fuel accompanied by control of compliance.

To date there are no regulations governing use of various types of solid fuel, particularly for the purposes of heating of houses, which allows to burn virtually anything, as long as it generates heat, thus leading to uncontrolled increase in the environmental air pollution with solid particles, volatile organic compounds and benzo(a)pirene, dioxins, and furans, posing elevated health hazard. In March 2016, the Ministry of Environment repeatedly urged the Ministry of Energy to draft respective requirements and urged other stakeholders (including the Ministry of Economy, Lithuanian District Heating Association, and the Consumer Rights Protection Authority, etc.) to bring valid proposals to the Ministry of Energy in order to draft the requirements in question.

On 7 April, the Ministry of Environment will be running a meeting open to all competent stakeholders in order to have the issue of quality of solid fuel resolved.

Communication Division
29/03/2016

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas