Thursday, 14 December 2017
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
586. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the use of smoky coals will still be allowed for certain types of engine for example vintage tractor engines and vintage locomotive engines; his plans to make provisions for the use of smoky coal allowable in very specific circumstances in view of his recent announcement on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53543/17]
The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, or the ‘smoky coal ban’ as it is commonly known, has proved very effective in reducing particulate matter and sulphur dioxide levels within the areas it applies, with an associated significant improvement in public health. Research indicates, for example, that the ban has resulted in over 350 fewer annual deaths in Dublin alone. Residential burning of coal is a key source of air pollution and the ban on the use of smoky coal will, therefore, be extended nationwide from Autumn 2018 as part of the national Clean Air Strategy which will be published early in 2018.
I am disposed towards allowing limited exemptions for the use of vintage tractor and locomotive engines, and this will be considered in the context of the regulations currently being drafted to implement the ban.