The Climate and Nature Protection Action Plan consists of eight points, and its measures correspond to the three principal expectations of climate policy; namely, they contribute to the reduction of harmful substance emissions, serve to adapt to climate change, and play a part in shaping mentality, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said at a press conference held on Wednesday in Budapest.

The Minister highlighted that, according to the action plan, they will start the elimination of illegal waste disposal sites on 1 July, and effective as of the same date they will set up a Waste Management Authority. Duties of the new authority will include monitoring the waste management sector, finding illegal waste disposal sites, imposing penalties, and obliging property owners to remove waste in cooperation with the local governments concerned.

They will also ban the continued distribution of single-use plastics, and will protect Hungary’s rivers from waste arriving in the country from abroad. They will expect multinational companies to use environmentally friendly technologies, will increase the capacity of solar power plants six-fold in the next 10 years, and will also support the wider appearance and use of cheap electric cars. They will introduce Green Government Bonds, and will plant 10 trees for every new-born baby, the Minister listed.

Outlining details of the action plan, Mr Palkovics highlighted that from next year they will ban the distribution of single-use plastics and will take all necessary measures to ensure the replacement of mass single-use, disposable products with other easily reusable and recyclable products. They will support businesses in the development and manufacture of such products. They will create deposit return schemes in the case of bottles, plastic bottles and metal cans, and will convert any waste that cannot be recycled into energy to be used by Hungarian families and Hungarian businesses.

As part of adaptation to climate change, they will pay special attention to protecting Hungary’s natural waters, the Minister said, taking the view that we cannot allow waste coming to Hungary via rivers from abroad in consequence of irresponsible environmental behaviour to pollute our natural and national values, rivers, waters and their flora and fauna. Up to 2021, they will provide for restoring natural habitats in 150,000 hectares of protected natural areas as well as for creating the conditions for their continued preservation. By 2030 forest areas will increase to 27 per cent of the country’s territory, he added.

He said they will take stringent measures against multinational companies to ensure that they use environmentally friendly technologies. They will support the renewable energy production of Hungarian small and medium-sized businesses with HUF 32 billion. They will convert the Mátra Power Plant into an environmentally friendly facility, will gradually phase out its lignite units, and coal firing will stop after 2025. Parallel with the gradual elimination of lignite firing, they will develop natural gas-based and other modern technologies such as solar power production, electricity storage and increasing the waste-to-energy capacity of the power plant.

According to the action plan, in 10 years they are planning to increase Hungary’s solar power production capacity six-fold. They will support the solar power production of households with preferential loans and a system of net metering. By 2022 they will incentivise the commissioning of 3,000, while by 2030 minimum 6,000 megawatts of solar power generating capacity, in particular, in the case of individual consumers and in the area of large-scale, power plant energy production.

Mr Palkovics stressed that by 2030 90 per cent of the energy generated in Hungary will be carbon-free. The Hungarian energy strategy is based on the concept that primarily nuclear energy and solar energy should account for a considerable percentage of Hungary’s power supply. They will help Hungarian households so that they can decide themselves about the extent and timing of their energy consumption. By 2030 they will support the installation of minimum 1 million smart meters.

The action plan also extends to transport, as part of which they will reform the incentivisation of electromobility by offering more extensive grants. They will create the opportunity for providing higher grants in the case of small and cheap cars. In the interest of the availability of the necessary services, all newly-built residential and office buildings will have to feature charging stations for electric cars. They will also support the procurement of low- and zero-emission vehicles in public transport. They will launch a Green Bus programme, and have started the preparations for the offering of green bonds seeking to serve climate protection.

Tamás Schanda, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology observed that, in addition to the further reduction of emission levels, other important aspirations include energy security, the coordination of the goals of climate protection and the development of the economy so that they reinforce one another, and the protection of the created environment which will be promoted by specific measures laid down in the action plan.

(Cabinet Office Of The Prime Minister)