A nationwide smoky coal ban is very welcome but "probably 30 years too late", a leading environmental commentator says.
The nationwide ban will come into effect in September 2022, the Government has announced.
It’s currently in place in towns and cities with large populations, but will be extended across the country next year.
There will also be strict rules for the selling and distribution of solid fuels like wet wood and turf as part of the Government’s plan to tackle air pollution.
However, burning sod peat won’t be banned for those who harvest it themselves.
The new rules come despite opposition from some rural TDs.
Environment Minister Eamon Ryan says a smoky coal ban will save lives, as it’s currently estimated 1,300 people die prematurely every year from pollution from solid fuels.
He said: “It’s giving a signal to industry that this time next year… we’re going to set standards, that you have to have smoke-free fuels.
“[Those fuels] do exist - they’re better value for the consumer, and they cut out the air pollution. It’s that air pollution that causes heart attacks and strokes.”
John Gibbons, environmental journalist, told Newstalk Breakfast the nationwide smoky coal ban is certainly a good thing but is also long overdue.
He said: “It’s probably 30 years too late. We know that then minister Mary Harney back in 1990 introduced a smokey coal ban in the Dublin area.
“We know from subsequent studies… that an estimated 10,000 people’s have been saved from premature death as a result of that one political action taken 30 years ago.
“Think of all the people who have died prematurely - who have lost five, ten, maybe 20 years off their lives - because we didn’t act to extend this ban to the rest of the country.
“It’s certainly a good thing, and boy is it overdue.”