Smoky coal ban to go nationwide in 2018

28 Sep 2015

The Irish Government is looking to implement legislation that will see the burning of smoky coal ban currently in place in Ireland’s major cities extended to the entire country in 2018.

The smoky coal ban in Ireland first entered Government legislation back in 1990 and it prohibited the burning of the coal-type in major cities due to the considerable effects it was having on air quality.

Following the ban, the air quality of cities was believed to have increased dramatically saving as many as 8,000 lives and improving Ireland’s economy by saving €53m in health costs.

Launching its 2014 air quality report this morning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that in parts of the country where the smoky coal ban does not apply, the health of residents there is becoming an increasing issue.

Based off its research, which now includes a real-time map of the nation’s air quality, the town of Killarney in Co Kerry was found to be one such example, with research from University College Cork (UCC) showing that the town’s air quality is 10-times worse at night than during the day.

Speaking at the launch of the report this morning, Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly TD said: “The original ban in Dublin has been cited widely as a successful policy intervention and has become something of an icon within the clean air community.”

He continued: “Ireland also became the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide smoking ban 10 years ago, and I want us to now show similar leadership in relation to clean air policy. I have instructed my officials to commence the process that will see the benefits of the smoky coal ban extended nationwide.”

It is expected to be passed into law in the next 12 months pending approval from the European Commission, but given its content it is likely to be passed.

Coal on fire image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic