Dáil Éireann - Volume 663 - 15 October, 2008

Written Answers. - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the criteria for determining the inclusion of towns within the smokeless fuel scheme; if these criteria have changed since 1998; and if he has received expert advice on the contribution to greenhouse gases of different types of solid fuels. [35068/08]

  Deputy Michael P. Kitt: The question of extending the areas subject to smokeless fuels regulations has been, and continues to be, kept under review in consultation with local authorities [884] and having regard to the need to ensure good air quality. Monitoring at permanent and mobile monitoring stations by the EPA and local authorities confirms that air quality in Ireland is good. The question of the need to extend the air quality monitoring network to cover additional urban areas due to population changes has been raised with the EPA in the context of an overall monitoring review which has been requested by my Department as part of the Programme for Government commitment on monitoring air quality. I expect the EPA will conclude this review by year end.

On 8 October 2008 I signed a new voluntary agreement with the Solid Fuel Trade Group. This provides that in the towns and environs of Athlone, Carlow, Clonmel and Ennis, the Group will maintain the smokeless fuel market penetration level of 75%, as a percentage of overall solid fuel sales, as set out in previous agreements. These four towns are additional to those already covered by smokeless zones.

In the context of developing the National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012, my Department engaged consultants to advise on greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from the use of solid fuel in all sectors of the economy. The consultants report “Determining the Share of National Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Emissions Trading in Ireland 2008-2012” is available on my Department’s website (www.environ.ie). In addition, in its recent report on “Ireland’s Environment 2008”, the EPA addresses, and provides a breakdown of, the total energy requirement by fuel type in the period 1990-2006. A copy of the report and its greenhouse gas emission projections for the Kyoto Protocol commitment period 2008-2012 are available on the Agency’s website (www.epa.ie).