KSB Defends Another Biomass Heating Plant Against Lesy ČR’s Damages Claim05/01/22 / News

KSB’s environmental law and litigation specialists have scored a significant victory, as another operator of a biomass heating plant does not have to pay damages to state enterprise Lesy České republiky (the Czech Forestry Agency) for immission damage to forests.

On 4 January 2022, the Court of Appeal's judgment that rejected Lesy České republiky, s.p.’s claim for compensation for damage to forests that was allegedly caused by a biomass heating plant in South Bohemia in 2016 became final and enforceable. The court disagreed with Lesy ČR’s argument that the operation of a source of air pollution was particularly hazardous and, at the same time, took into account the fact that biomass heating plants are significantly more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel-based operations.

Lesy ČR’s claims are filed annually based on the data registered in the Register of Emissions and Sources of Air Pollution. Such data become the basis for an expert deposition study, whereunder Lesy ČR claims compensation for damages for premature removal of forests, for reduced growth, production and quality of forests, and for special or more costly measures in individual calendar years. Although the court confirmed that the methodology which Lesy ČR uses to calculate the damage to forests is generally correct, it also held that efficient measures had been introduced in the operation of the defendant’s heating plant to reduce emissions to the maximum extent possible. The court also held that entirely emission-free generation of heat and electricity is not possible given the current state of general knowledge and the commonly demanded scope of heat and electricity supplies.

The judgment in question is of great importance given its precedent-setting nature, both for heating plants using biomass as fuel and for operators of other industrial plants which are successfully implementing measures to make their plants greener.