Green Party leader and Climate Minister Eamon Ryan is considering including peat briquettes in a ban on smokey fuels.
The revelation was made on Thursday during a Dáil debate on the Minister’s proposed ban of turf.
Independent Galway-Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice said that “there is a great deal of anxiety among the public, and especially among elderly people.”
“When I talk about rural Ireland I am referring to people in the countryside and also to people in small towns who rely on turf as a solid fuel,” said Fitzmaurice.
“…I have listened to some of the Minister’s colleagues state peat briquettes were fine. We can have a sod of turf as dry as a peat briquette.”
However, Ryan replied that even peat briquettes were under consideration to potentially be banned.
“We have to go with the science,” he said.
“I will be perfectly honest. Even on the peat briquettes, I will be looking at the science to ensure that those briquettes, because of the way they are processed and burn, are below the 10 micrograms of pollution that is put out into the atmosphere. We have to be straight about that and ensure that is the case.”
Ryan said that he hoped a ban on smokey coal could be introduced as soon as this autumn.
The announcement comes as the European Union has indicated it intends to cut off Russian oil by the end of the year despite the ongoing continent-wide energy crisis.
"Today we will propose to ban all Russian oil from Europe.
We will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year."
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) May 4, 2022
Russia is the EU’s main external energy supplier. EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said that cutting off Russian gas was “neither sustainable nor affordable,” and urged all member states to prepare “for full disruption.”
Numerous government TDs have warned that the move to ban turf was so unpopular it could potentially bring down the government.
Eamon Ryan warned turf ban could bring down Government
"Green party leader heckled and shouted down by a section of Fine Gael TDs during heated meeting"
— Rob O'Hanrahan (@RobOHanrahan) April 27, 2022