New standards are set to be introduced for domestic solid fuels. Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan has announced that the new standards for all domestic solid fuels which will be introduced over the next 12 months.

From that point on, the most polluting of fuels will no longer be available on the Irish market.

Each year some 1,300 people die in Ireland due to air pollution from solid fuel burning.

Minister Ryan said: “We received more than 3,500 responses across all strands of the consultation, with a wide variety of suggested regulatory approaches for solid fuels.

“Having considered the submissions made by the public, health experts, advocacy groups, academia and industry, a framework for legislation has been developed and drafting of the regulations is under way.”


From 2022 the following new standards for solid fuels will apply in Ireland:

  • Coal, coal-based products, any manufactured solid fuel or peat briquettes will be required to have a smoke emission rate of less than 10g/hour, reducing to 5g/hour by 2025.
  • It is not proposed to make any changes to the smoke emission rate for biomass products (that contain coal), as this is already set at 5g/hour.
  • The sulphur content permitted for all fuels will be reduced from 2% to 1% over time.
  • Wood sold in single units under 2m³ will be required to have a moisture content of 25% or less (moving to 20% within four years) and wet wood sold over these volumes will be required to come with instructions for the purchaser on how to dry this wood.
  • In order to accommodate those with rights to harvest sod peat, no ban on its burning will be introduced. However, a regulatory regime to reduce its harm in urban areas is under examination.
  • Reaction

    The news has been cautiously welcomed by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBea).

    The new regulations set a standard for wood moisture levels, ensuring that wood fuel is clean burning and efficient for the householder, according to the IrBea.

    Noel Gavigan, technical executive at IrBEA said: “The introduction of a 25% limit on fuel moisture content, later to be reduced to 20%, is a welcome development for the market.

    "Through the wood fuel quality assurance (WFQA) scheme which [the IrBEA] administer, we already have several dozen wood fuel suppliers in the Irish market that only produce fuel to the 25% moisture content standards.”

    Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA added: “The success of the proposed solid fuel regulations implementation will ultimately depend on the level of resources dedicated to its enforcement and regular monitoring of compliance. This needs to be backed up by an effective campaign which encourages consumers to make the move away from fossil fuel sources to renewable options.”