Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
52. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the regulatory measures that are being considered as part of an examination into the use of harvest peat sod; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49744/21]
Each year 1,300 people die prematurely in Ireland due to solid fuel burning. I am committed to addressing this critical public health and environmental challenge through enhanced regulation of all solid fuels. New emissions standards are being introduced to ensure that the most polluting fuels will no longer be available for sale on the Irish market. Introducing these standards will improve the quality of the air that we breathe, and the health of the public that we serve. The contribution of peat to fine particulate matter levels can be considerable, particularly in areas such as the Midlands where peat extraction occurs. There is also increasing evidence which indicates that sod peat is being traded through the ‘grey market’, and is being used in more urbanised settings where it has an even greater impact on air quality than in rural areas.
In order to accommodate those with turbary rights to continue to cut and burn sod peat for their own domestic purposes, but which will lead to a reduction in the use of sod peat more generally, a distinct regulatory approach to this fuel is required. Measures under consideration include the introduction of standards, emission limits or restrictions on the marketing, sale or distribution of peat in urban areas. When determined, the required measures will form part of the new solid fuel regulatory system which I intend to introduce from September 2022.