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Solid Fuels

Cabinet agrees a ban on retail turf sales, as smoky coal ban extended

New solid fuel regulations are set to be introduced at the end of October.

LAST UPDATE | 14 Jul 2022

REGULATIONS THAT WILL ban the retail sale of turf, as well as smoky coal and wet wood, will be introduced at the end of October. 

Cabinet met incorporeally to sign on on the new measures, with the Environment Minister Eamon Ryan stating today that the new measures will save lives.

Ryan said there is effectively little change in the final version of the regulations, stating that turbary rights and low level sales were always going to be facilitated.

He said it was right to hear all the concerns of backbenchers in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

The selling of turf through “traditional channels” will continue to be allowed and the ban on smoky coal will be extended nationwide under new regulations that will take effect on 31 October. 

At a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night, TDs and Senators were told the new regulations will continue to allow people with turf-cutting rights to be able to gift or sell turf as normal through “traditional channels”.

However, it will no longer be possible to sell turf from retail premises such as shops, petrol stations or fuel depots and selling it online or through any traditional media channels will no longer be permitted.

The regulations will also restrict the sale of wet wood as small bags of wood will be required to have a moisture content of less than 25%.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has now formally dropped a controversial proposal that turf transactions would only be allowed in communities of 500 people or below.

Concerns were raised about the rule by backbenchers in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, however, sources within the Green Party said that such a proposal was in the draft regulations, and was never going to be part of the final regulations. 

The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party was told that the regulations will not impinge upon traditional practices associated with turf and the traditional trading of turf in rural areas will be maintained.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the main effect of the proposed solid fuel regulations will be to bring an end to the sale of smoky coal.

The Fianna Fáil leader said this fuel is the main contributor to air pollution in Ireland and causes significant health damage and loss of life.

Contains reporting from Christina Finn

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