Turf sale ban to come into effect on Monday

The restrictions on the retail, online and commercial sale of turf will come into effect on Monday, it has emerged.

It follows the signing today by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, of new Solid Fuel Regulations for Ireland.

The Government says the primary focus of these regulations is on improving air quality and improving people’s health chances and outcomes.

The regulations restrict the retail, online and commercial sale of smoky fuels, including smoky coal, turf and wet wood.

These fuels are proven to be a major contributor to air pollution in Ireland.

However, it says that people with turbary rights and all other customary practices in respect of turf will be unaffected by these regulations. They will continue to be able to cut turf for their own use and will retain the ability to gift or sell turf. However, no sale of turf may take place by way of the internet or other media (i.e. advertising in local press), or from retail premises.

The main health effects of air pollution include stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. These conditions can lead to sickness and ill health, as well as premature mortality.

Burning of solid fuels, is a significant contributor to poor local air quality by increasing the amount of fine particulate matter and other pollutants in our homes and communities. It is also linked to increases in respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia and also impacts on the central nervous and reproductive systems.

The changes, which were announced in September 2021, will remove the most polluting fuels from the market from Monday. This will be achieved by increasing the technical standards for fuels to ensure only lower smoke products are available for sale.

The Department said these regulations have been developed following intense work over a number of years, which included a public consultation that attracted more than 3,500 responses, and significant levels of engagement with stakeholders.

The Department said: "They represent a proportionate response to the health impacts associated with burning the most polluting solid fuels."

The regulations were agreed by Government in July after much controversy over whether neighbours could supply turf to each other.

The net effect of these changes is that the same rules that applied in ‘low smoke zones’, first introduced in Dublin 30 years ago, will now be operational across the country, resulting in significantly cleaner air for everyone.

While this will represent a change to those who have used smoky fuels up to now, a wide variety of less harmful products – such as low-smoke coal (ovoids) – are available which are cleaner and more cost-efficient.

Another significant effect is that access to turf through retail outlets and the internet will no longer be possible, while wood that is bought for domestic heating will be drier and cleaner to burn as a consequence.

More information on what the new regulations mean to householders, retailers, producers and couriers are available at: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/e3da2-air-quality/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/cleanair/.