Environment Minister sets out plans to improve air quality in Ireland

Denis Naughten met with the CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland to outline his plans

Environment Minister sets out plans to improve air quality in Ireland

Denis Naughten and Averil Power

Environment Minister Denis Naughten has met with Averil Power - CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland - to outline plans to improve air quality here.

Ireland is said to have the fourth highest rate of asthma prevalence in the world, with an estimated 450,000 people having been diagnosed with the condition here.

Minister Naughten and Mrs Power discussed issues such as the early implementation of a national smoky coal ban and a nationwide network of 'real-time air quality monitor stations'.

The minister says that a number of measures will be taken over the next six weeks, including bringing the first National Mitigation Plan to public consultation.

He also says that two semi-state companies will announce a plan that aims to "optimise the supply and management of sustainable biomass industry for Ireland".

In a statement, Minister Naughten said: “Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulminary Disease) are among the most serious issues for the Irish health service and both are heavily influenced by air quality and other environmental factors. 

"In Ireland alone four deaths per day can be attributed to air pollution and a cost estimated to be around €2 billion per year,” he added.