Minister Ryan signs Smoky Coal Ban extension

From September 1 this year, the burning, sale and marketing of smoky coal will be prohibited in thirteen additional areas across the country. Cavan County Council will have new powers of enforcement.

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan has signed Regulations to extend the smoky coal to include Cavan Town and others with populations over 10,000 people.

From September 1 this year, the burning, sale and marketing of smoky coal will be prohibited in thirteen additional areas across the country.

“I am very pleased to extend this ban to a further 13 urban areas and I would like to I thank the local authorities for their cooperation,” Minister Ryan said.

This measure is aimed at reducing air pollution and promote public health. The main health effects of air pollution include stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.

The European Environment Agency Report Air Quality in Europe 2019, indicates that in 2016 there were 1,180 premature mortalities arising from air pollution in Ireland. The vast majority of these, 1,100, are attributable to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which in Ireland is primarily associated with domestic solid fuel burning. The same report indicates 12,000 Years of Life Lost, indicating significantly earlier mortality for those deaths.

Along with Cavan Town, Carrigtwohill, Cobh, Midleton and Mallow have been added to the list in Co Cork, Killarney in Kerry, Longford Town, Castlebar and Ballina in Mayo, Ashbourne in Meath, Tullamore in Offaly, Tramore in Waterford, and Enniscorthy in Wexford.

The geographical boundaries of the new Low Smoke Zones have been defined following extensive liaison with the relevant Local Authorities.

An interactive online map, to illustrate both the existing Low Smoke Zones and the new ones that will be in effect from September 1 is now available. The map includes an Eircode search facility, whereby a user can enter the Eircode of any particular premises, to see whether or not it falls within a Low Smoke Zone.

Local Authorities are primarily responsible for the enforcement of the smoky coal ban within their functional areas. The powers that Local Authorities have are extensive, allowing Council staff to undertake inspections of premises and vehicles being used for the sale and distribution of solid fuel as well as collect samples.

They may also bring a prosecution under the Air Pollution Act for breaches of the Regulations, or issue a Fixed Payment Notice (or 'on the spot fine') for alleged offences relating to the marketing, sale and distribution of prohibited fuels in Low Smoke Zones (LSZs), with a penalty range of €250 to €1000.

As part of the Programme for Government, the Department has also committed to developing further a multi-agency enforcement approach and we will be working with the Local Authorities and other relevant stakeholders in this context over the coming months.

More from this Topic