Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (358)

Joe McHugh


358. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 496 of 19 February 2013, if affected vendors will be able to sell smokey coal to customers who live outside the restricted area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11537/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 326 of 2012) provide for a ban on the marketing, sale distribution and burning of bituminous fuel inside specified ban areas. The main legislative provisions of the Regulations that apply inside such ban areas include:

- a ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous fuel;

- a requirement to sell solid fuel in sealed bags with a printed notice;

- a requirement to maintain a register, if storing bituminous fuel for the purpose of placing on the market or on sale at a separate location outside the ban area;

- transportation of bituminous fuel in minimum quantities of 3 metric tonnes in Dublin or 1 tonne inside other ban areas; and

- retention of records by drivers of vehicles transporting bituminous fuel, detailing the type of fuel on board, who supplied it and where it is being transported to.

The sale of prohibited fuels within the ban area is strictly forbidden and there are no circumstances that allow for exceptions. The Regulations do not permit sales from a premises inside a ban area to customers who claim to live outside the ban area. Allowing for such a practice would completely undermine the effectiveness of the Regulations and enforcement efforts. The provisions allowing for storage and transport of bituminous fuel inside ban areas facilitate the upstream movement of product within the supply chain. A person or body storing bituminous fuel inside a ban area may only place such fuel on the market, provided that the point of sale to the end user (i.e. where the product is exchanged and paid for) is at a location outside the ban area.

My Department issued a circular letter to all local authorities on 14 February 2013 in respect of consistent implementation of the Regulations. The circular advised local authorities on the conditions applying to storage and transport of bituminous fuel inside ban areas and that these conditions do not permit retail sales of bituminous fuel to residential customers from premises inside the ban areas.