New standards for domestic solid fuels announced in Ireland

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Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has announced the new standards for all domestic solid fuels that will be introduced across the State within a year.

According to the Irish Government, some 1,300 people die in Ireland each year due to air pollution from solid fuel burning.

Minister Ryan commented: “When this Government was formed, we gave a commitment to tackle air pollution caused by domestic solid fuel burning, and we remain committed to doing so.

“We took a major step earlier this year, with a public consultation on the development of new solid fuels regulations for Ireland.

“We received more than 3,500 responses across all strands of the consultation, with a wide variety of suggested regulatory approaches for solid fuels.

“Having considered the submissions made by the public, health experts, advocacy groups, academia and industry, a framework for legislation has been developed and drafting of the regulations is underway.”

From 2022, the following new standards for solid fuels will apply in Ireland:

  • Coal, coal-based products, any manufactured solid fuel or peat briquettes will be required to have a smoke emission rate of less than 10g/hour, reducing to 5g/hr by 2025.
  • It is not proposed to make any changes to the smoke emission rate for biomass products (that contain coal), as this is already set at 5g/hr.
  • The sulphur content permitted for all fuels will be reduced from 2% to 1% over time.
  • Wood sold in single units under 2m³ will be required to have a moisture content of 25% or less (moving to 20% within 4 years) and wet wood sold over these volumes will be required to come with instructions for the purchaser on how to dry this wood.
  • To accommodate those with rights to harvest sod peat, no ban on its burning will be introduced. However, a regulatory regime to reduce its harm in more urbanised areas is under examination.

These regulations will be finalised in the coming months and will be in place for the 2022 heating season.

Moreover, the Minister will also open a public consultation on the forthcoming Clean Air Strategy in the near future.

More information about this announcement is available on the Irish Government website.