Smoky coal ban extended to 13 new towns

The smoky coal ban has been extended to all towns with populations of more than 10,000 people aro...

16.12 17 Dec 2019

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Smoky coal ban extended to 13...

Smoky coal ban extended to 13 new towns


16.12 17 Dec 2019

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The smoky coal ban has been extended to all towns with populations of more than 10,000 people around the country.

The announcement was made today by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton who said he ban would be place from September next year.

He also said the government would not be introducing a nationwide ban as it would pose a risk of illegal behaviour unless peat, turf and wet wood were also included.


13 towns have been added to the list of areas where the use of smoky coal is not permitted.

Local authorities will be tasked with enforcing the ban, and may hand out fines to anyone found to be selling the prohibited fuels.

The new towns are:

  • Cobh, Midleton and Mallow in Co Cork
  • Ashbourne and Laytown-Bettystown in Co Meath
  • Castlebar and Ballina Co Mayo
  • Killarney in Co Kerry
  • Tullamore in Co Offaly
  • Tramore in Co Waterford
  • Enniscorthy in Co Wexford
  • Longford town in Co Longford
  • Cavan town in Co Cavan

29 towns and cities are currently covered by the ban.

Minister Bruton said he was extending the ban to the 13 new towns "based on the evidence of poor air quality with seriously damaging effects on health".

It was decided that built up areas around the country would benefit in having air quality standards which meet stricter limits given by the WHO rather than the lower EU requirements.

This was evidenced by recent air quality monitoring in Cobh, Enniscorthy and Longford which were in line with the EU requirements but exceeded those issued by the WHO.

Minister Bruton said : "Many of the actions we are taking in the Climate Action Plan, such as our plan for a new National Programme for Housing upgrades, will reduce the reliance people have on solid fuels.

"We will ensure that 500,000 homes are upgraded in the coming decade, with 600,000 renewable heating systems / heat pumps installed.”

He said given the risks of illegality, a national ban would not be suitable and that he would instead be proceeding in "a gradual and proportionate way".

Earlier today, Labour Leader Brendan Howlin had called for a countrywide ban saying that it is "a serious health issue that warrants immediate action".

Minister Bruton added: “To proceed with a nationwide ban regardless of circumstance would expose people in rural areas, who have traditional sources of logs and turf which they rely upon, to the risk of a sudden ban.

"I am not willing to do this. To pretend that a nationwide ban does not carry this probable outcome is to be dishonest.

The Minister also said that work is underway to strengthen enforcement of the current smoky coal ban in addition to investing €5m to improve the network of air monitoring stations in the next five years.

Main image: File photo.

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