There was “some misleading and inaccurate” coverage yesterday (Tuesday, November 1st, 2022) in relation to the new solid fuel regulations.
That is according to a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, who, by means of an exclusive statement to That’s Farming, insisted that there are “no provisions in the new solid fuel regulations regarding the excessive burning of turf or any other solid fuel”.
The spokesperson pointed to the Air Pollution Act 1987, which, as they explained, already enables a local authority to serve a notice to prevent or to limit air pollution – to protect people from any harmful impacts.
Solid fuel regulations
The spokesperson commented: “Typically, those emissions would arise from the uncontrolled burning of waste, including used tyres.”
“That provision has been in place for the past 35 years. The new solid fuel regulations do not change this in any way.”
“Enforcement of the new solid fuel regulations will not be focused on households.”
“Enforcement actions, if appropriate, will typically focus on retail outlets and online platforms,” the spokesperson concluded.
Improve public health
According to the spokesperson, the primary focus of the new solid fuel regulations that came into effect on Monday is on restricting the retail, online and commercial sale of smoky fuels, including smoky coal, turf, and wet wood.
They said this will improve people’s health chances and outcomes as these fuels are proven to be a “major contributor” to “dangerous” air pollution in Ireland.
“People with turbary rights and all other customary practices in respect of turf will be unaffected by these regulations.”
“They will continue to be able to cut turf for their own use and will still be able to gift or sell turf,” the spokesperson added.
Air pollution nuisance complaints
According to the spokesperson, air pollution nuisance complaints typically arise from backyard burning or unauthorised bonfires, which involve the burning of waste.
The spokesperson said that burning waste is not only a nuisance to neighbours; it can release many harmful chemicals into the air we breathe.
“Burning waste in the home or outdoors can damage your health, as well as that of your neighbours.”
“Such illegal practices lead to the release of toxic dioxins, which are a real hazard for people’s health and the environment,” the spokesperson concluded.