A ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal has applied in Dublin since 1990, was extended to Cork in 1995 and to a further ten urban areas between 1998 and 2000. It is not an EU legislative requirement. The relevant current regulations, laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as required under section 10 of the Air Pollution Act, 1987, are the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Marketing, Sale and Distribution of Fuels) Regulations, 1998, and the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Marketing, Sale and Distribution of Fuels) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000.
On 17 October 2001 I published a consultation paper on a potential national ban on bituminous coal and petcoke so as to reduce ambient smoke levels across the country and national sulphur dioxide emissions. The consultation process allows the public, the solid fuel trade and all interested parties to consider the relevant issues and to respond to my Department. All responses will be evaluated before a decision is made by Government. I envisage any national ban being implemented by way of regulations laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.