Thursday, 13 December 2012

Questions (119)

Eric J. Byrne


119. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding a flue stove (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56066/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Part J of the Building Regulations requires a heat producing appliance to have adequate provision for the discharge of the products of combustion to the outside air, and any heat producing appliance, flue pipe, or chimney to be designed and constructed so as to reduce to a reasonable level the risk of the building catching fire as a consequence of its use.

Technical Guidance Document J, published by my Department, gives guidance on how to comply with Part J. In particular, guidance is given covering the appropriate location of flue terminals for both natural draught and balanced flue appliances, shielding of flue pipes from combustible materials, encasement of flues where passing through compartment walls and floors and the need for provision for flue cleaning.

The relevant distances for flue locations are based on the European standard EN 15287-1: 2007 Design, Installation and Commissioning of Chimneys - Part 1 Chimneys for non-room sealed heating appliances, which deals with all fuel type appliances.

The distance of not less than 2.3m from an adjoining building as specified in TGD J is therefore in keeping with European standards.

It is worth noting, however, that the building regulations and European standard referred to above are primarily concerned with ensuring public safety and minimising the risk of fire. Airborne pollution and air-related public nuisance are addressed under the Air Pollution Act 1987. Section 24(2) of the Air Pollution Act, 1987, stipulates that an occupier of any premises must not cause or permit an emission in such a quantity, or in such a manner, as to be a nuisance. Where it appears necessary in order to prevent or limit air pollution, a local authority may serve a notice on the occupier of any premises from which there is an emission. In any prosecution brought against the occupier of a premises causing an emission it is a good defence to establish that the best practicable means have been used to prevent or limit the emission concerned.

  Statutory responsibility for the enforcement of the Air Pollution Act, as well as regulations made under the Act, is vested in the relevant local authority, in this case Dublin City Council.

The Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) of the Environmental Protection Agency supervises the environmental protection activities of local authorities. This function includes supervising the enforcement of air pollution legislation by local authorities. In this regard, the OEE is a resource for members of the public who have exhausted all other avenues in regard to a local authority response to an environmental complaint they have made.