Politics

Criticism of failure to introduce ban on promoting turf step by step


The proposed ban on the sale of turf was unavoidable as a result of in any other case a nationwide prohibition on the sale of smoky coal wouldn’t have been doable, the Department of the Environment has mentioned.

Previous governments had sought to implement a nationwide smoky coal ban however have been all the time obstructed due to the exemptions that have been there for an additional polluting fossil gasoline, turf.

The matter had beforehand come to a head in 2018 when three coal corporations, none based mostly within the State, warned the then authorities that if the smoky coal ban was prolonged, they might problem the transfer on the idea that the State had not banned the burning of different fossil fuels, together with wooden and peat merchandise.

Senior sources mentioned on Monday that it might have been politically extra fascinating to exempt peat however it might have meant that the State couldn’t impose a blanket ban on smoky coals.

Accordingly, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action Eamon Ryan has disclosed that turf-selling shall be banned from September 1st this yr.

In a parliamentary reply to Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, Mr Ryan mentioned that households would nonetheless be allowed to chop peat from conventional plots for home use however promoting the peat shall be prohibited.

“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,” Mr Ryan mentioned.

The new laws are being launched to cut back air air pollution within the State.

“Each year, some 1,300 people die prematurely in Ireland due to air pollution from solid fuel burning,” he mentioned.

“Research undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency also demonstrates that the contribution of peat to air pollution levels is significant,” he added.

However, the announcement has met with sturdy opposition in counties within the midlands and western seaboard, the place vital bogs are situated.

The Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Michael Fitzmaurice mentioned on Monday that the “sudden” announcement was unjust and unfair on households who relied on small-scale sale of turf to tide themselves over in the course of the winter.

Families who lower turf on their very own bathroom would possibly lower an additional 4 hoppers-worth, or two trailer-loads, and promote it at the price of regardless of the contractor charged to chop it.

“That bit of additional turf will cowl the price of slicing and make their turf free for the yr.

“They also cut it for elderly neighbours who don’t have a plot and sell it to them at cost price.”

Mr Fitzmaurice mentioned the character of the announcement was like Mr Ryan bringing “a big bad hammer bang down on everything”.

He mentioned restrictions might have been introduced in additional step by step.

“What he ought to have finished is ready out a transition between now and 2030, when folks shall be ready to profit from offshore wind energy, warmth pumps and higher insulated properties.

Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Eamon Ó Cuiv mentioned that whereas nationally solely 5 per cent of the inhabitants relied totally on strong gasoline for heating, the odds have been a lot greater in Offaly, Roscommon and Galway.

He additionally mentioned the ban would have an effect on households who had little prospect of their properties being retrofitted or benefitting from renewable fuels within the rapid future.

“If Eamon Ryan had really been concerned about this there should have been very generous grants on a means-tested basis to convert from solid fuel, and an immediate programme to convert all the local authority houses in the country that rely on solid fuel,” he mentioned.

For its half, the Department has argued that some turf is commercially lower and is now making its means into constructed up areas being traded by the “grey market”.



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