New rules on the sale of solid fuels for domestic heating will come into effect at the end of this month.
As highlighted in a previous news article on That’s Farming, the primary focus of the regulations is on the large-scale, commercial sale of smoky fuels, including smoky coal, turf, and wet wood.
Solid fuel rules
Under the regulations, a number of new health standards for solid fuels will apply from October 31st, 2022.
According to Minister Eamon Ryan, the regulations will “introduce minimum standards that will apply across all solid fuels.”
He stated that this “will ensure that the most polluting can no longer be made available on the Irish market”. “This will assist the public in transitioning to less polluting alternatives”.
He confirmed that there are no financial supports planned for any sector distributing solid fuels, which are subject to the standards and provisions provided for in the new regulations.
The new regulations will see changes in respect of turf in Ireland.
The minister stated:
“People with turbary rights and all other customary practices in respect of turf will be unaffected by the regulations.”
“They will continue to be able to cut turf for their own use and will retain the ability to gift or sell turf provided this is not done by way of the internet or other media, or from a retail premises.”
“These include shops, garages and filling stations, fuel yards, public houses and other public places. All other channels will remain open to them.”
Air quality and public health
Moreover, the minister outlined that the governments needs to introduce enhanced measures to improve air quality and protect public health.
It is estimated that some 1,300 people die prematurely in Ireland due to air pollution from solid fuel burning annually. There are over 16,200 life years lost, the minister added.
In addition, he stated that many people also experience a “poor quality of” life due to the associated short-term and long-term health impacts of this form of pollution.
He added: “The regulations are a critical element of addressing this public health and environmental challenge.”
“They will serve to improve the quality of the air that we breathe and the health of the public that we serve,” he concluded.