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Solid Fuel Regulations

The Air Pollution Act 1987 (Solid Fuels) Regulations 2022 came into affect on 31 October 2022.  These regulations govern the sale of solid fuels in Ireland and extend the previous restrictions on selling smoky coal in the “Low Smoke Zones” of Waterford, Tramore, and Clonmel to the entire county. Restrictions on the sale of wet wood a turf are also being introduced.

These fuels are proven to be a major contributor to air pollution in Ireland. Under the regulations the following new health standards for solid fuels apply.

Coal products and manufactured solid fuels must have a smoke emission rate of less than 10g/hour. Manufactured part biomass products must have a smoke emission rate of less than 5g/hr.

Coal products and manufactured solid fuels, including manufactured part biomass products, must have a sulphur content of less than 2% by weight on a dry ash-free basis. Subject to a market assessment, this limit will be reduced to 1% with effect from 1st September 2025.

100% biomass products, wood products and wood logs, supplies in units under 2m³, will be required to have a moisture content of 25% or less (moving to 20% with effect from 1st September 2025). Wood logs sold in larger volumes will be required to come with instructions for the purchaser on how to dry this wood.

For people seeking a cleaner and more cost-efficient alternative to smoky coal, low-smoke coal is already widely available.

People with turbary rights and all other customary practices in respect of turf are unaffected by these regulations. They continue to be able to cut turf for their own use and will retain the ability to gift or sell turf. However, no sale of turf may take place by way of the internet or other media (e.g. advertising in local press), or from shops, garages and petrol filling stations, fuel yards and public houses and other public places

Health Impacts of Poor Air Quality

Poor air quality is a leading cause of premature deaths. Each year some 1,300 people die as a result of fine particulate matter, primarily associated with domestic solid fuel burning. Regulation of solid fuel is a recognised means of addressing this. Research carried out on the impact of the of the “smoky coal ban” in Dublin introduced in 1990 show it has resulted in approximately 350 fewer mortalities per year, reducing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory mortality in the general population in the area.

The main health effects of air pollution include stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. These conditions can lead to sickness and ill health, as well as premature mortality. Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) – the pollutant of most concern from domestic solid fuel burning in Ireland – is linked to respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia and impacts on the central nervous and reproductive systems.

Air Monitoring

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the authority with responsibility for ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland. With the assistance of Waterford City and County Council, the EPA have air pollution monitors in Waterford and Dungarvan. Realtime results for these stations can be viewed on This website provides an indication of the Air Quality Index for Health for Co Waterford.

More details of the meanings of this index can be found on

Air Quality in Waterford is affected by issues such as industrial emissions, domestic and commercial heating, transport, agriculture and waste activities. Waterford City and County Council has a role in the managing of these emissions through the enforcement of regulations for the following;

– Solid Fuels

– Solvents and Decorative Paints

– Petroleum Vapour Regulations

– Prohibition of Disposal of Waste by Burning