Written answers

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Environmental Policy

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

172. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the proposals or recommendations in view of his concern over pollution being created by turf smoke (details supplied) that he might have with regard to trying to deal with the issue of the tonnes of CO2 entering our atmosphere; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24128/22]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

While peatlands in their natural state act as long-term sinks for atmospheric CO2 and are recognised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the most important long-term carbon store in the terrestrial biosphere, the purpose of the draft solid fuel regulations is to protect human 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 are currently being developed in order to 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.

Government recognises that turf cutting by citizens for use in their own homes is a traditional activity across many peatlands and that measures are required to reduce the emissions associated with burning peat, but which respect these traditions. No ban on the sharing of peat will be introduced for those with rights to harvest sod peat, but measures are required to reduce its usage in more urban areas where the greatest harm can be caused. This approach will facilitate those with turbary and customary rights and traditional rural usage to continue to cut and burn sod peat for their own domestic purposes, while also reducing the use of sod peat in urban areas.

The final regulations that will be agreed by Government 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.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.