A SMOKY coal ban has been extended to all towns with populations over 10,000 people, including three Cork towns.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton announced the extension of the ban yesterday.
The Minister also said that the government would not be proceeding with a nationwide ban on smoky coal, on the basis that such a ban carries a serious risk of illegality, unless peat, turf and wet wood were also included.
The Cork towns of Cobh, Midleton and Mallow will be subject to the ban from September 2020.
“I am extending the smoky coal ban to 13 additional towns based on the evidence of poor air quality with seriously damaging effects on health,” said Minister Bruton.
“Many of the Actions we are taking in the Climate Action Plan, such as our plan for a new National Programme for Housing upgrades, will reduce the reliance people have on solid fuels.
“We will ensure that 500,000 homes are upgraded in the coming decade, with 600,000 renewable heating systems or pumps installed,” he added.
“I am not proceeding with a nationwide ban at this time as such a ban carries a serious risk of illegality unless turf, peat and wet wood are also addressed.
“We will proceed in a gradual and proportionate way and extend the current smoky coal ban to 13 new towns where there are particular air quality issues and to address immediate health concerns in these towns.
“To proceed with a nationwide ban regardless of circumstance would expose people in rural areas, who have traditional sources of logs and turf which they rely upon, to the risk of a sudden ban.
“I am not willing to do this.
“To pretend that a nationwide ban does not carry this probable outcome is to be dishonest.”