Government placing ban on sale of turf
The government is set to place a ban on the sale and distribution of turf in Ireland from September 1st, 2022, under new proposed regulations.
That is according to Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, who provided clarification to Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin (Kerry) during Leaders’ Questions last week.
Deputy Griffin asked the minister if people could continue to cut and sell turf after September 1st, 2022, when the new regulations on solid fuels will kick into effect.
Ban sale of turf
In response, Eamon Ryan confirmed that the government would not implement a ban on cutting or burning turf.
However, “a regulatory provision will be made to prohibit the placing on the market, sale or distribution of sod peat”.
The minister stated that this approach would “facilitate those with turbary rights to continue to cut and burn sod peat for their own domestic purposes, while also reducing the use of sod peat in urban areas”.
He told deputy Griffin: “As such, persons who have turbary rights will continue to be permitted to extract peat to heat their own dwelling. However, they will not be permitted to place it on the market for sale or distribution to others.”
Turf cutting traditions
He said turf cutting by citizens for use in their own homes is a traditional activity across many peatlands.
Ryan added that while these measures are required to reduce the emissions associated with burning peat, these traditions will be “respected”.
He stated that the government is not placing a ban on cutting or burning turf to “accommodate those with rights” to harvest sod peat.
New standards for solid fuels:
- Coal, coal-based products, any manufactured solid fuel or peat briquettes will have to have a smoke emission rate of less than 10g/hour, reducing to 5g/hr by 2025;
- It is not proposed to make any changes to the smoke emission rate for biomass products (that contain coal). This is already set at 5g/hr;
- The sulphur content permitted for all fuels will be reduced from 2% to 1% over time.
- Wood in single units under 2m³ to have a moisture content of 25% or less (moving to 20% within 4 years). Wet wood sold over these volumes to come with instructions for the purchaser on how to dry this wood;
- To accommodate those with rights to harvest sod peat, no ban on its burning will be introduced. However, a regulatory regime to reduce its harm in more urbanised areas is under examination.