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Phil Hogan Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Phil Hogan: I want smoky coal to be banned within the next 3 years

Smoky coal is already banned in 27 towns and cities around the country, but now the Minister for the Environment says he wants to see it nationwide.

MINISTER FOR THE Environment Phil Hogan has said he wants to see a ban on smoky coal throughout the country within the next 3 years.

Smoky coal was banned in seven more towns around the country – Greystones, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Navan, Newbridge, Portlaoise and Wicklow – on 1 May, bringing to 27 the total number of towns and cities which have already banned the fuel.

The government has brought in a number of measures to discourage people from using fossil fuels, including a carbon tax on solid fuels which began last Wednesday.

Phil Hogan pointed to research which found that the smoky coal ban resulted in up to 350 fewer deaths every winter since being introduced in Dublin in 1990. The ban was in response to severe episodes of winter smog which resulted from the widespread use of smoky coal.

“The health benefits in areas where the ban is already in place are well documented and an all-Ireland ban is the next phase I anticipate in this area,” he said. “The burning of solid fuel for residential heating makes a disproportionate contribution to air pollution”.

The ban has clearly been effective in reducing air pollution with proven benefits for human health and our environment and has led to improved quality of life in cities and towns where the ban applies.
I am convinced of the health benefits from an all Ireland   ban on smoky coal and these benefits should be extended to all citizens through such a ban.

He made the comments as he announced a major new study which will measure air pollution caused by people burning solid fuel – such as coal and peat briquettes – in their homes.

The study, which is a joint piece of research between Northern Ireland and the Republic, will look at possible policy options to reduce pollution from solid fuel as well as the potential environmental and human health benefits.

“North-South cooperation in this area provides an opportunity to further improve air quality for the citizens of this island both North and South,” Phil Hogan said.

Read: Bad news for fossil fuels: cost of coal and briquettes to rise today >

Read: 90% of construction industry insiders believe wind should be primary energy source >

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