The ‘smoky coal ban’ regulations are to be revised in time for the next winter fuel season, with some expansions of the ban areas within the 20 cities and towns already covered, and seven new towns being included under the ban from May 2013 onwards. The new regulations will be the most extensive revision and update to the smoky coal ban since its introduction in 1990. The new regulations include the following provisions:
* Some existing ban area boundaries are being extended to take recent urban development into account. The revisions are based on Census 2011 data;
* The ban is being extended to all of DublinCounty, including suburbs and satellite towns;
* Six new provincial towns are to be included (with effect from May 2013) because they have populations over 15,000 people – Greystones, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Navan, Newbridge and Portlaoise;
*Wicklow Town is also to be included following requests from Wicklow County Council and local representatives;
* A prohibition on the burning of bituminous or smoky coal is also being introduced to complement the existing ban on the marketing, sale and distribution.
The lead-in period for the seven new towns will allow local authorities and fuel retailers time to familiarise themselves with the new regulatory requirements in preparation for the switch-over to smokeless fuels next May.
Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, comments: “Research has indicated that the smoky coal ban introduced inDublinin 1990 resulted in up to 350 fewer deaths and reduced consumer fuel costs of €184 million per year. It has clearly been effective in reducing air pollution with proven benefits for human health and our environment and has led to improved quality of life in cities and towns where the ban applies. I believe that it’s now time to take steps to ensure that those proven benefits are preserved and safeguarded, and are extended more widely by updating the main provisions of the ban to reflect the more recent expansion of many of our urban areas and to ensure its continued effectiveness in mitigating harmful emissions caused by the burning of smoky coal.”