Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has welcomed a proposed nationwide ban on smoky coal and restrictions on the sale of turf and unseasoned wood but says that any new regulations must be poverty-proofed.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Climate Action and Biodiversity, said:

“Along with emissions from transport, solid fuel is one of the main sources of air pollution in Ireland. Fine particulates from solid fuel was found to have caused 1,300 premature deaths in this country in 2018.

“The ban on smoky coal had a transformative effect on Dubliners’ lives when it was first introduced three decades ago and has since been successfully extended to other urban centres.

“From a public health and environmental perspective, it makes sense that we should now strive for a nationwide ban on smoky fuels. However, in doing so, we must ensure that the new regulations are poverty-proofed and do not disproportionately disadvantage low-income households.

“Just transition needs to be the cornerstone of our climate action efforts. If these issues are addressed through the consultation process, I believe there will be broad political and public support for the new regulations.”

February 18, 2021

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