Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Bituminous Fuel Ban
The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, or ‘the smoky coal ban’ as it is commonly known, was first introduced in Dublin in 1990, and subsequently extended to our major cities. Following a public consultation process, it was further extended in 2012, and now applies in 26 urban areas nationwide. The ban has proved very effective in reducing particulate matter and sulphur dioxide levels and has had the effect of significantly improving public health. Research indicates, for example, that the ban has resulted in over 350 fewer annual deaths in Dublin alone.
In the meantime, monitoring has revealed that the air quality in some of our smaller towns in winter is worse than that in larger towns where the ban is in place. Given the clear human health benefits, I am committed to extending the ban nationwide.
This process necessarily involves discussion and consultation with a wide number of stakeholders, including with the European Commission, relevant Government Departments and Agencies, the residential fuel industry, and the general public. Discussions with many of these stakeholders on issues that may arise in connection with the proposed nationwide ban are underway.
My next step will be to introduce the specific legal measures to give effect to the ban over a twelve month period commencing in Autumn 2018.