First step taken towards nationwide ban on smoky coal

galway daily news smoky coal ban

The first step has been taken towards a nationwide ban on the sale and burning of smoky coal and the regulation of other fuels, as part of a drive to combat air pollution.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan launched a public consultation this morning to understand people’s views on the further regulation of solid fuel use for domestic home heating.

He has invited the public, health professionals, other experts, NGOs and those involved in the industry to give their views on how Ireland can design and implement rules that will benefit public health.

“Clean air is fundamental to our health and quality of life, and is essential for the health of the environment on which we depend,” said Minister Ryan this morning.

“People have no choice about the air they breathe. We as Government have an important role to develop the policies that will deliver cleaner air.

“It is my intention to bring in a nationwide ban on smoky coal and regulate other fuels as soon as possible.”

Under current regulations the sale, marketing, distribution and burning of bituminous (smoky) coal is not permitted in specific low smoke zones (LSZs) across the country.

These apply in cities and all towns with populations of more than 10,000 people.

The public consultation launched today also seeks views on the regulation of all solid fuels such as peat, turf, and wood which would improve air quality for the benefit of all.

The European Environment Agency report Air Quality in Europe 2020 indicates that in 2018, there were 1,410 premature mortalities arising from air pollution in Ireland.

The vast majority of these (1,300) were attributable to emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) which result mainly from the burning of solid fuels.