The Government has given effect to new consolidating ‘smoky coal ban’ regulations. The Regulations were prepared following a public consultation process earlier this year. The Regulations provide for expansions of the ban areas within most of the 20 cities and towns already covered by the smoky coal ban, and 7 new towns being included under the ban from May 2013 onwards. The new Regulations include the following provisions:
* Most 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 Dublin County, including outer suburbs and satellite towns;
* Seven new towns are to be included (with effect from May 2013) – Greystones, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Navan, Newbridge and Portlaoise – which exceed the designated minimum population threshold of 15,000 following Census 2011, and Wicklow Town following representations from the public, Wicklow County Council and elected 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 new Regulations along with maps of the revised smoky coal ban areas and new towns being included in the ban from May 2013 are available on the Department’s website http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Atmosphere/AirQuality/SmokyCoalBan/
The lead-in period for the 7 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 in Dublin in 1990 resulted in up to 350 fewer deaths and through increased efficiency reduced consumer fuel costs by Eur184 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.”