Written Answers. - Cork Sulphur Dioxide Levels.

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

84 Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that sulphur dioxide levels in the greater Cork region have nearly doubled since the ban on the sale of bituminous coal was implemented in February 1995; if he has satisfied himself that these regulations are being implemented; his views on whether changes are required in legislation to reduce the sulphur content of the coal sold; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8917/96]

Full assessment of the Cork coal ban must await the compilation by the Environmental Protection Agency of national monitoring results for smoke and SO2 for the 1995-96 heating season. This is expected to be available by midyear.

Preliminary indications are, however, that sulphur dioxide concentrations in Cork while showing some increase continue to comply both with statutory air quality standards and with stricter EU guide values. Considerable improvements in smoke concentrations have occurred in Cork since the ban on bituminous fuels was introduced.

The position will, however, be considered within the overall annual review of urban air quality which will be undertaken as soon as the Environmental Protection Agency assessment is available.