Review of the Smoky Coal Regulations

EPA submission to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government's public consultation.

Summary: The EPA Air Cross Office Team made this submission to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government's public consultation on a Review of the Smoky Coal Regulations. The submission considers options to reduce air pollution through revised regulations.

Published: 2012

ISBN:

Pages: 15

Filesize: 257KB

Format: pdf

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Summary of Key Recommendations

  • Decreased particulate levels result in positive health effects with policy measures to reduce particulates typically found to have a positive health benefit from a costs/benefit analysis viewpoint;
  • Data from the EPA national air quality monitoring network indicates that particulate levels in small towns without a smoky coal ban can be higher than the equivalent levels in larger towns which have a coal ban in place;
  • Coal ban area designations should be aligned with the EPA designated Zone C towns. The EPA is supportive of a longer term nationwide ban on smoky coal, subject to further Regulatory Impact Assessment and consultation with the Northern Ireland authorities;
  • The EPA is supportive of an option for local authorities to allow towns/regions within their functional area to opt-in to the ban;
  • The effectiveness of the coal ban within each ban area should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the extent of the designated ban area is appropriate;
  • Banning the burning of smoky coal within ban areas should be considered as well as a ban on the storage of smoky coal. The provision of fixed payment notices as an enforcement tool would facilitate more effective enforcement by local authorities;
  • Further measures need to be considered to increase the enforceability of the regulations, particularly with regard to fuel sales.
  • A number of potentially beneficial synergies between the sulphur standard in coal regulations and the smoky coal regulations should be considered as part of the regulatory review, including harmonisation of labeling requirements and the harmonisation of definitions for fuel suppliers and fuel merchants.
  • Other complimentary measures to improve air quality should also be considered, such as better regulation of solid fuel burning appliances and their emissions and the continuation and development of the grant scheme for home energy efficiency.