Environment

Environment

FAQ on Solid Fuel and Clean Air

Many things increase the pollutants we produce when heating our homes with solid fuels. These include what we burn, how we burn it and the maintenance of our heating appliance and chimney.

Ask yourself “do I need to light a fire?”

Why should I think twice before lighting a fire? In Ireland, household fires are the main source of an air pollutant called fine particulate matter (also known as PM2.5). This pollutant is linked to approximately 1,300 deaths in Ireland each year, with a total of some 16,200 Years of Life Lost. Exposure to PM2.5 can spark asthma attacks and can cause a range of respiratory problems such as such as bronchitis, bronchiolitis (which affects one in four children under the age of two), pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and other illnesses. It can also cause short-term health such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are most at risk. By choosing not to light a fire if you have other heating sources available, you can help reduce the levels of PM2.5 in our air. This will help you and your community to enjoy better health and live longer.

I don’t have any heating in my home other than a fireplace/stove. What am I supposed to do?

If you don’t have any alternative, continue to light your fire when you need to. We simply ask that you consider your choice of fuel and use low smoke options as outlined in the EPA infographic below.

What should I do instead of lighting a fire?

The EPA infographic highlights a range of heating options from most to least polluting. We would ask you to consider if possible using what other less polluting heating methods available to you, before thinking of lighting a fire. If you sometimes light a fire for cosiness or ambience in addition to using one of these other heating sources, it might be useful to check the air quality in your area before you do particularly on days where the air is still and there is no wind to help disperse the smoke from your chimney. Information on air quality in a number of local areas is available on www.Airquality.ie

Are there other steps I can take?

In the longer term, retrofitting your home so that it’s better insulated and more heat efficient may be an option for you. You can do this in stages focusing on the best options for your own home to help keep as much heat in your home as possible. Advice, grants and supports are all available from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). See www.seai.ie for more details.

 

Resources

The interactive map of Low Smoke Zones, including an eircode search facility to allow the user to determine if a particular premises is covered by the ban, is available HERE

 

The Air Quality Map that provides the most recent information on air quality in certain areas www.Airquality.ie

 

FAQ document for householders in now available HERE

 

FAQ document for retailers and suppliers is now available HERE

Air Quality

Information on air quality can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website on http://www.epa.ie/irelandsenvironment/air/ 

The EPA manages the National Ambient Air Quality Network (2017-2022) in partnership with Local Authorities.  This network consists of air quality monitoring stations located across the country.  In County Kildare, as part of this network, there are monitoring stations located in Celbridge, Newbridge and Naas.  (Click on the town name to go directly to the EPA monitoring data for that site).

These monitoring stations collect air quality data, such as Particulate Matter (PM) for public information and for assessment against European legal limit values and WHO guideline values.  Click on the following link for a full list of localised Particulate Matter (PM) monitoring sites https://airquality.ie/

The Air Quality in Ireland 2018 report published by the EPA can be found on their website or downloaded here http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/quality/epaairqualityreport2018.html

More recent publication "Ireland's Environment 2020" provides an update in Chapter 3 on the environmental challenges relating to Air Quality http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/indicators/irelandsenvironment2020.html

Industrial Licencing 

The Air Pollution Act, 1987 is the primary legislation relating to the protection of our air quality.  The licencing of certain industrial emissions that require an Air Pollution Act Licence from the Local Authority are also detailed in the Act.  http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1987/act/6/enacted/en/html 

Solvents (VOC Regulations and Deco-Paints Regulations)

If you are a dry-cleaner, vehicle refinisher or if you use solvents in your business activity then the Solvents (VOC) Regulations or the Deco-Paints Regulations may be applicable to you.  These Regulations are enforced by the Environment Section of Kildare County Council. 

To find out if they are relevant to your activity, contact the Environment Section on 045-980588 or check the information available on the EPA website on the following link:

http://www.epa.ie/air/airenforcement/solvents/

Vehicle Refinishing? What you need to know (Source EPA, 2020)

File Size: 825KB - Document Type: Acrobat pdf

Dry cleaner register

File Size: 14KB - Document Type: MS Excel

Vehicle refinisher register

File Size: 19KB - Document Type: MS Excel

Renowacja Pojazdów — Co musisz wiedzieć?

File Size: 684KB - Document Type: Acrobat pdf

What about Radon? Can I test for this gas in my home?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils.  

It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and can only be measured using special equipment.  

When radon surfaces in the open air, it is quickly diluted to harmless concentrations, but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house or other building, it can sometimes accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations.

Radon decays to form tiny radioactive particles, some of which remain suspended in the air.  When inhaled into the lungs these particles give a radiation dose which may damage cells in the lung and eventually lead to lung cancer.

Since July 1998, every new house is required to incorporate some degree of radon preventive measures at the time of construction in accordance with the revised Building Regulations.  The degree of protection required is dependent upon whether or not the site is located within a High Radon Area.

To learn more about radon, and how to test for this gas in the home, contact the Environmental Protection Agency and view their website for further information.

http://www.epa.ie/radon/getinformed/

Phone:                   1800 300 600

Email:                    radon@epa.ie

 

Burning agricultural (green) waste

The application form for this is located in the forms section available on http://kildare.ie/countycouncil/Forms/Environment/

Applications must be received at least two weeks in advance of the proposed date of burning of agricultural waste.

Applications may be refused if there is a weather alert or ban on burning due to weather conditions.

Burning shall not take place until permission/refusal has been received in writing from Kildare County Council.

Burning of unsuitable material is not permitted.                                                                                                           

Burning agricultural waste should always be the final measure in disposing of waste – please investigate all other methods before applying to burn.