Draft regulations on the sale of turf will not impact communities with a population of less than 500 people or those in one-off rural dwellings, a spokesperson for Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal.
This “allowance” will mean that turf can be sold and distributed for use as fuel to those living in such settings.
However, the regulations will impact those communities such as market towns and larger villages with a population of greater than 500 people.
The spokesperson explained that the rationale is that when turf and other smoky fuels are burned by more households in closer proximity, such as that seen in towns, there is a “greater risk” of reduced air quality. She said this creates “bystander impact” and suggested that Minister Ryan is aiming to reduce the 1,300 deaths and associated illnesses caused every year by air pollution. She compared this policy to the introduction of smoking laws in Ireland in 2004.
Minister Ryan’s spokesperson also confirmed that under the draft Solid Fuel Regulations, there will also be measures to control the burning of wet wood, which she said is “more harmful” for people’s health. The Minister met with rural TDs to discuss the turf issue on Tuesday.
Following one such meeting, Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill said: “It’s clear that the current proposals are off the table.”
On Wednesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there will be “no ban” on the use of turf “for the remainder of the year”.