FAQ's on Air

FAQs about air quality

in: Air

Air quality in Ireland is generally good however there are localised issues due to the burning of smoky fuel or emissions from transport in dense urban areas.

Popular FAQs

  • How often is the Air Quality Forecast updated?

    Twice a day, once in the morning (by 9:30) and once in the evening (by 19:30).

  • Why do we need an Air Quality Forecast?

    The forecast gives everyone in Ireland the air quality information they need to plan their outdoor activities to reduce potential exposure to poor air quality. The forecast also helps to increase awareness of air quality issues and to remind us all to take steps to reduce air pollution in Ireland.

  • What is the Air Quality Forecast and what does it forecast?

    Air Quality Forecast Maps predicts daily air quality for:

    • today,
    • tomorrow, and
    • the day after tomorrow. 

    Air quality is presented with different daily maps, including:

    • Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH),
    • Particulate Matter (PM) – both PM2.5 and PM10,
    • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2),
    • Ozone (O3). 
  • How does the air quality map work?

    The air-quality map colour-codes the readings from the air quality monitoring stations in Ireland. The map can be viewed at: https://www.airquality.ie

    The readings are based on the current air quality index (1 to 10) as it relates to health. This is called the Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) status. The monitoring stations map updates at least once an hour. 
    The air quality readings are colour-coded from 1 being good (light green) to 10 being very poor (purple).

    Green is good

    Typically, most air quality monitoring stations are green. This shows the quality of the air is good. 

    Blue means no automatic update available in this area

    If a station is blue, it means that it does not update data automatically. Instead, the air quality reading must first be analysed in a laboratory before we can report on air quality.

    Grey means information not available at this time

    If a station is displayed in grey on the map there may be:

    • an instrument or communication issue at the monitoring station, or
    • planned maintenance or upgrade taking place.

    You can see all EPA air quality reports and the latest air quality bulletin in our Reports and Bulletins.

    Access a list of all the monitoring stations.

    This map also presents the twice daily updated Air Quality Forecast maps. These show the expected air quality for:

    • today,
    • tomorrow, and
    • the day after tomorrow. 
  • What is the best way to find out what the current air quality conditions are in my area?

    There are several options to get information on air quality in Ireland.

    1. You can see a list of air monitoring stations through the following link: https://www.airquality.ie/stations
    2. The Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) for each station is updated hourly. You can access the data at the following link: https://www.airquality.ie
    3. You can view predicted daily AQIH, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone from the Air Quality Forecast at: https://www.airquality.ie
    4. The EPA regularly provides updates on air quality at the following link: https://twitter.com/EPAAirQuality.

FAQs on Medium Combustion Plant

in: Air

The Medium Combustion Plant Regulations were signed into law in December 2017. Their purpose is to limit emissions to atmosphere from boilers and other stationary combustion plants in the 1-50 MWth (thermal input) range. It covers all fuel types. The Regulations transpose the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive ((EU) 2015/2193) which was adopted in 2015.

The regulations limit the level of emissions allowable from new combustion plants from 20th December 2018, while operators of existing MCPs will have longer to comply with stricter emission standards. This will assist in limiting the impact on human health, vegetation and biodiversity which can be caused by air pollution.

Popular FAQs

  • Where do I go with additional queries?

    Please send any additional queries to licensing@epa.ie using the subject heading ‘Medium Combustion Plant’.

  • What are the EPA requirements for monitoring emissions from MCP?

    Monitoring of emissions to atmosphere

    The European Union (Medium Combustion Plants) Regulations 2017 require that periodic monitoring of emissions to atmosphere from medium combustion plants is carried out. Air emissions sampling and analysis is a particularly difficult aspect of environmental monitoring, and specialist equipment is required to be used. Both the sampling and analysis stages of air emissions monitoring require a high level of competency and quality control. Most MCP facilities will not carry out their own air emissions monitoring, but will instead employ a specialist contractor to carry out the monitoring and provide a report, which can be submitted to the EPA. The EPA generally supports the approach of using external specialist service providers, and would not recommend that facilities attempt to carry out their own air emissions monitoring.

    In order to ensure the generation of consistent, high quality and robust monitoring data from MCP facilities, it is a mandatory requirement that all air emissions monitoring carried out is performed by an ISO 17025 accredited air monitoring contractor. Accredited air emission monitoring contractors operating in Ireland either receive their accreditation from the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), or else they operate under the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

    The details of the INAB ISO 17025 accredited air emissions monitoring contractors are as follows:

    The Irish-based contractors who hold UKAS ISO17025 accreditation for air emissions monitoring are as follows:

    You must ensure that the air monitoring contractor you intend to use for EPA compliance monitoring holds ISO17025 accreditation. The EPA will not accept monitoring results from a monitoring contractor, who does not hold accreditation to the ISO17025 standard.

  • What do MCP operators need to do now?

    Anyone operating or planning to operate an MCP should ensure that they understand the obligations of the Regulations, in particular, the applicable ELVs. Pay attention to the associated footnotes, and the various exemptions and derogations that may be applicable.

    Operators planning to buy or install new MCP should ensure that new plants are specified to meet the ‘new plant’ ELVs set out in Schedule 2 Part 2 of the Regulations.

    Operators of existing MCPs should monitor SO2, NOx, dust and CO emissions to determine whether specific measures will be required to achieve compliance. These operators have until January 2025 (5- 50 MWth) or January 2030 (1 – 5 MWth) to achieve compliance.

  • Are there any other exemptions or derogations?

    There is a range of exemptions, derogations, and variations from the default limit values, which are set out in Regulations 11, 12 and 13, and in the footnotes in Schedule 2.

  • What about emergency generators?

    The regulations make special provision for MCP such as emergency generators, which operate intermittently or rarely. Where these MCP operate less than 500 hours per year (as a rolling average over 5 years), they are exempt from some of the specified ELVs but there is still a requirement [Schedule 3, Part 1] to measure carbon monoxide. Where necessary, for environmental protection, the regulations allow the EPA to reduce this number of hours in specific circumstances for specific plant (similar to the provisions for reducing ELVs). [See Regulations 13(1), 13(3) and 20(4)(c)].