Thursday, 28 April 2022
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Further to my reply to Parliamentary Question No.159 of 5 April last, I can confirm that I remain committed to introducing new regulations on the sale of solid fuels for domestic heating in Ireland this Autumn. They will introduce minimum standards that will apply across all solid fuels, to ensure that the most polluting can no longer be made available on the Irish market and to assist the public in transitioning to less polluting alternatives. Enhanced measures are required to improve air quality and protect public health. It is estimated that each year, some 1,300 people die prematurely in Ireland due to air pollution from solid fuel burning and that there are over 16,200 life years lost. In addition, many people also experience a poor quality of life due to the associated short-term and long-term health impacts of this form of pollution. New regulations are a critical element of addressing this public health and environmental challenge and will serve to improve the quality of the air that we breathe, and the health of the public that we serve.
Following a public consultation process, draft regulations were prepared in the context of initiating an EU Technical Regulations Information consultation process. In recognition of the fact that turf cutting by citizens for use in their own homes is a traditional activity across many peatlands, and to accommodate those with rights to harvest sod peat, the draft regulations as notified, placed no restriction on the cutting or burning of sod peat while seeking to reduce the emissions associated with its use in more urban areas where its use causes the greatest harm.
As with all regulatory consultations, submissions made during the course of this process will inform the final regulations. These will ultimately be agreed by Government and will ensure, that while measures are introduced to enhance the quality of our air, they will not impinge upon traditional local practices associated with sod peat.