Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Ceisteanna (600)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

600. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on high-sulphur coal being smuggled across the Border region; if he has spoken to other Ministers regarding same; if actions are being taken to prevent this smuggling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26488/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Local Authorities are primarily responsible for the enforcement of legislation relating to solid fuel within their functional area.

The powers that Local Authorities have in this area are quite extensive. For example:- Local Authority staff may undertake inspections of premises and vehicles being used for the sale and distribution of solid fuel as well as collect samples- A Local Authority may bring a prosecution under the Air Pollution Act for breaches of the Regulations. The maximum fine for breaches of the Regulations is €5,000 on summary conviction. - Fixed payment notices (or ‘on the spot fines’) applied by the Local Authority are in operation for alleged offences relating to the marketing, sale and distribution of prohibited fuels in Low Smoke Zones.

In addition, coal and low-smoke coal based products being offered for sale within the State must meet environmental specifications. The National Standards Authority of Ireland has prepared an annual traceability audit system, known as SWiFT 7, for showing compliance these specifications. Bagging operators placing these products on the market must have the SWiFT7 certificate and must also register with the EPA.

Complaints regarding the sale of prohibited fuels, smoky emissions or other breaches of the regulations should, in the first instance, be reported to the Local Authority concerned.