Use of Solid Fuels in residential and licenced premises i.e coal, manufactured solid fuels including manufactured biomass products, wood and peat.
AIR POLLUTION ACT 1987 (Solid Fuels) REGULATIONS 2022
Ireland has legal obligations under EU legislation, namely, under the National Emissions Ceiling Directive (2016/2284/EU) and Cleaner Air for Europe Directive (2008/50/EC) to reduce the health impacts associated with air pollution.
While air pollution reductions should result from implementation of EU wide legislation, there is an obligation on each Member State to devise its own nationally appropriate strategies, which identify and effectively address its own national air pollution profile. This should include strategies tailored to reduce significant key sources of air pollution.
The purpose of the new and enhanced solid fuels regulation is to introduce minimum product standards through a suite of measures which will ensure only the least polluting residential solid fuels will be available for sale. The main standards in the new regulations are as follows;
a) The permissible sulphur content for all fuels will be reduced from 2% to 1% by 2025, subject to an
assessment of the market.
b) Coal and Manufactured Solid Fuels From 31st October 2022 coal, coal-based products, and any manufactured solid fuel or peat briquettes will berequired to have a smoke emission rate of less than 10g/hour (the rate currently in force in Low Smoke Zones). 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/hr.
c) Wood Burning wood with a high moisture content (i.e. wet wood) results in significantly increased smoke emissions compared to those produced when seasoned or dry wood is burned. To improve the quality of wood fuel for consumers and reduce harmful emissions, minimum product standards for wood are being introduced. Wood sold in single units under 2m³ will be required to have a moisture content of 25% or less (moving to 20% within 4 years), and wet wood sold over these volumes will be required to come with instructions for the purchaser on how to dry this wood. This measure will capture bags of wood typically sold by retailers such as garage forecourts, supermarkets, and local shops, to consumers purchasing logs for convenience and
immediate use. It will still provide householders, particularly in rural areas, with the option of seasoning wet wood at home by following the appropriate advice.
d) Sod Peat The contribution of peat to fine particulate matter levels can be considerable, particularly in areas such as the Midlands where peat extraction occurs. Sod peat is comparatively low in energy, is not convenient to handle and leaves significant ash residues. While it is primarily a rural fuel, there is increasing evidence indicating that sod peat is being traded through the ‘grey market’ and is being used in urban settings where it has a greaterimpact on air quality than in rural areas. A regulatory provision is being made to prohibit the commercial sale and distribution of sod peat. This approach
will facilitate those with turbary rights to continue to cut and burn sod peat for their own domestic purposes, while also reducing the use of sod peat in urban areas.
e) Other measures provided for in the regulations include updates to the registration, certification and labelling system to enhance enforcement, ensure that approved products are of the highest quality, and to provide reassurance to consumers regarding the standard of the product they are purchasing.