Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
476. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when new air quality monitoring will be rolled out in Dublin city; the type of gasses, pollutants and so on that will be measured (details supplied); the number of stations that will be provided; if real time information will be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9122/19]
Ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the 2008 Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC) and the Fourth Daughter Directive (Directive 2004/107/EC of 15 December 2004). These Directives include rules on how Member States should monitor, assess and manage ambient air quality. Under the Directives, EU Member States must designate "zones" for the purpose of managing air quality. For Ireland, four zones were defined in the Air Quality Standards Regulations, 2011. The zones in place in Ireland in 2017 are Zone A: the Dublin conurbation; Zone B: the Cork conurbation; Zone C: comprising 23 large towns in Ireland with a population of more than 15,000; and Zone D: the remaining area of Ireland. Ireland established a nationwide network of monitoring stations which measure levels of air pollutants in the four zones. This information is delivered to the public in near real-time at www.airquality.ieThe criteria for the location of monitoring equipment for each pollutant are set out in the Directives.
Following a review by the Environmental Protection Agency of air quality monitoring and information provision in Ireland, a decision was taken to develop a new National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP) which aims to enhance and build on current arrangements. The AAMP will more than double the capacity of ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland by 2022, and enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public. My Department has committed funding of some €5 million over the lifetime of the programme.
Of the 39 additional stations planned as part of the AAMP, 12 were completed by the end of 2018, including 2 stations in Dublin in Saint Anne’s Park and Saint John’s Road. In addition to this, existing stations as outlined below were upgraded to provide real-time PM10 and PM2.5 information.
- Dublin – Ballyfermot
- Dublin – Davitt Road
- Dublin – Finglas
- Dublin – Marino
- Dublin – Phoenix Park
- Dublin – Ringsend
- Cork – Heatherton Park
Further additional stations and station upgrades are planned for 2019 and 2020, a number of which will be in the greater Dublin area, including a new monitoring station on Pearse Street. One of the key objectives of the AAMP is to enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public and the precise locations of these additional stations will therefore be determined operationally.
Further details on the monitoring programme can be found at the following website:
477. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the national clean air strategy report will be published; his plans to implement action to tackle air pollution in towns such as Enniscorthy and New Ross, County Wexford, in view of the fact that that air pollution is more damaging at lower concentrations than was previously understood; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9127/19]
As the Deputy observes, recent scientific evidence indicates that air pollution is more damaging at lower concentrations than was previously understood. With this in mind, I am committed to bringing forward Ireland's first ever National Clean Air Strategy to address this problem and mitigate against the health and environmental risks posed by air pollution. The Strategy, which I intend to publish this year, will provide the policy framework necessary to identify and promote integrated measures across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives.