Smoky coal to be banned nationally by 2018
SMOKY coal will be banned in all towns and villages by 2018 at the latest.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly said the ban, which is in place across larger urban areas and Dublin since 1990, will be extended nationally to help improve air quality.
The move will require approval from the European Commission, but the minister said he hoped it would be in place within 12 months.
The ban was announced at a clean air conference organised by the Environmental Protection Agency in Dublin today.
The smoky coal ban is credited with saving 8,000 lives and yielding health and economic benefits worth €53m a year since it was introduced.
Air quality has improved dramatically in areas where the ban is in place.
Research from University College Cork suggests that in areas where a ban is not in force, air quality is becoming an issue.
In Killarney, Co Kerry, air quality is ten times higher during the night than during the day.
“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,” Mr Kelly said.
“Ireland also became the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide smoking ban ten years ago, and I want us to now show similar leadership in relation to clean air policy.
“I have instructed by officials to commence the process that will see the benefits of the smoky coal ban extended nationwide.”
He added that the ban was expected to be in place by winter 2018, but hopefully sooner. It is currently in place across more than 20 larger urban areas.