Solid fuels that are known to cause the most damage to the environment will be completely off the market by the end of 2022.
The latest climate regulations coming into law in Ireland will be effective from September 2022 and will ensure that the country as a whole is a ‘low-smoke zone’.
The announcement came well in advance so that businesses manufacturing and selling these fuels had enough time to put plans in place for investing in alternatives.
According to a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency, the most dangerous pollution particles in the country come from smoke emitted by solid fuel burned in homes.
The micro-particles can pass through your lungs, enter your bloodstreams, and can seep into internal organs – resulting in headaches, breathing difficulty, eye irritation, and even cardiac issues.
Some of the known long-term impacts of this pollution then include asthma, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and reduced liver function.
So come September, all coal and other fuel products nationwide – including solid fuel and peat briquettes – will only be on sale if it emits less than ten grams of smoke per hour when burned.
Then, by 2025 these same fuel alternatives will only be allowed to remain on the market if manufacturers can reduce the smoke emitted per hour to five grams – while sulphur content must be halved.
These new regulations will also affect other solid fuels – as wood sold for heating will have to have a moisture content of 25% or less.
Within four years, this will have to be reduced to 20% while wet wood will come with instructions on how to dry it.
According to the European Environment Agency, there were 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland in 2017 due to pollution from solid fuels.
The new regulations will be finalised in the coming months and will be in place from September, for the colder months of 2022.
Meanwhile, a new campaign will launch, centred around three core messages or the ‘ABC’ for Cleaner Air, which can help bring about significant improvements in air quality:
A – Ask yourself: “Do I need to light a fire?” Use other cleaner heating sources instead if possible
B – Burn cleaner, more efficient, low-smoke fuels and make sure you use the right fuel for your appliance
C – Clean and maintain your chimneys and heating appliances at least once a year