Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
24. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of dedicated funding that will be provided to each local authority to monitor and enforce the smoky coal ban and any future solid fuel regulations as part of the forthcoming clean air strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17700/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 25 together.
My Department is currently working to finalise Ireland’s first National Clean Air Strategy. While it was originally my intention to launch the Strategy alongside a public consultation on a new solid fuel regulation for Ireland, recognising the urgency of taking action to address the health impacts of domestic solid fuel burning, I have chosen to progress the development of enhanced solid fuel regulations in advance. This decision will also allow submissions received during the public consultation process to inform and contribute to the final strategy document.
The Strategy will identify and promote the integrated measures and actions across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives. In line with the Programme for Government, the Clean Air Strategy will also support the development of a regional approach to air quality enforcement and a multi-agency approach to clamping down on the sale of high-sulphur content fuel imported from the UK.
Such coordinated action is required given the links between burning of solid fuels and the health effects of air pollution, as well as the potential for market distortion for businesses properly adhering to the regulations.
Discussions with the Local Authority sector have commenced with the intention of establishing dedicated resources within regional lead authorities to provide co-ordination, expertise and advice to support consistent implementation of air quality legislation across the country. My Department is fully committed to supporting Local Authorities in this regard, including through the provision of additional supports for the most effective model of enforcement.