• Pippa Hackett

Clean air initiative welcomed by Minister Pippa Hackett

Updated: Oct 13

Minister Pippa Hackett has welcomed news that Ireland’s clean air strategy is being implemented next year, with improved solid fuels replacing smoky coal and wet wood.

The announcement was made by Minister Eamon Ryan today, International Clean Air Day.

“Around 1,300 people die in Ireland each year because of air pollution from solid fuel burning, so we have to improve the way we heat our homes,” she says.

“We have an opportunity this winter to get into the habit of burning low-emission coal and drier wood to reduce the particulate matter in the air. Smokeless coal is actually cheaper than standard or premium coal and we all know you get better heat from drier wood.”

According to the most recent SEAI Domestic Fuels Comparison of Energy Costs report, low-smoke coal (ovoids) is the most cost-efficient choice of coal in terms of heat delivered per cent.

The ban won’t apply to those with rights to harvest sod turf.

“Tullamore became a low smoke zone in 2020 and people are adapting to the change,” says Minister Hackett.

“We have four air monitoring stations in Laois/Offaly – Birr, Portlaoise, Emo and Edenderry – which you can check at www.airquality.ie. Right now, they are rating reasonably well but once we start lighting fires, we’ll be able to see how the air quality declines.

“Those who suffer from respiratory illness will be relieved by the switch to cleaner fuels. It will help to reduce hospital admissions for such illnesses, as well as improving the performance of solid fuels where they are required for domestic heating.”