Abstract Pollution-induced community tolerance (PICT) allows finding a cause–effect relationship between pollution and adverse changes in a community. In our previous study we found that functional diversity of bacterial communities decreased significantly with increasing metal concentration, in both forest humus and meadow topsoil. Thus, the aim of the present study was to test whether tolerance of soil bacterial communities had increased as an effect of long-term metal pollution. Bacterial tolerance was tested with the use of the Biolog ® ECO plates in soils originating from the most polluted and the least polluted sites from three forest and five meadow transects located near smelters in Avonmouth (England), Clydach (Wales), and Głogów and Olkusz (Poland). We found that tolerance of bacterial communities was significantly increased in polluted meadow soils when compared to control meadow soils. On the contrary, no increase in tolerance was detected in polluted forest humus.