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Smoky coal ban to go nationwide

THE Government plans to extend the ban on smoky coal to every town and village in the country.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said he hoped to introduce a ban on burning high-sulphur coal across the State within three years to help improve air quality and reduce respiratory problems.

The pledge comes as the price of coal, turf and peat briquettes will increase from May 1 after the carbon tax was extended to solid fuel products.

Some 25 cent will be added to the price of a 40kg bag of coal, and about 14 cent to a bale of briquettes.

Another hike is planned for 2014, when the carbon tax is doubled from €10 per tonne to €20. The cost is likely to be added to coal and peat products, and will reduce the price difference between smoky and cleaner forms of coal, encouraging their use. Some 20 towns and cities are already covered by the ban, and seven more will be added from May 1.

Irish Independent