Minister Denis Naughten announced on 06 December 2017, that from Autumn 2018, Ireland will be the first country in Europe to introduce a nationwide ban on the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of bituminous coal or ‘smoky coal’.
The Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations 2012-2016 provides the legal basis for the ban.
Currently the ban on the burning of smoky coal and certain other fuels applies in all designated Low Smoke Zones (LSZs) and complements the ban on the marketing, sale and distribution. The extension of the ban nationwide will have the effect of designating the entire State a Low Smoke Zone (LSZ). It is not proposed to introduce an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of smoky coal and other prohibited fuels from Autumn 2018 but to allow a period of 12 months for the industry to ‘wash through’ existing stock with a full ban on the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of bituminous coal coming into effect throughout the State from Autumn 2019.
Where householders rely on solid fuel, there is now a wide variety of low smoke solid fuel products, including low smoke coal products, available on the market which will be permitted for use.
Under the Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations 2012 (as amended) all low smoke solid fuel products must be clearly labelled as per the Regulations. This allows householders to make an informed choice about the products they purchase.
Monaghan County Council is the responsible authority for the enforcement of these regulations in Co Monaghan and local authority staff may undertake inspections of premises and vehicles being used for the sale and distribution of solid fuel as well as collecting fuel samples for analysis.
Fixed payment notices (or ‘on the spot fines’) can be applied by the local authorities for alleged offences relating to the marketing, sale and distribution of prohibited fuels in Low Smoke Zones (LSZs). These fines range from €250 to €1,000 depending on the nature of the offence.
A local authority may bring a prosecution under the Air Pollution Act for breaches of the Regulations . The maximum fine amount for breaches of the Regulations is €5,000 on summary conviction;
Further information can be found on the Department’s website at https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/air-quality/smoky-coal-ban/Pages/default.aspx