Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has confirmed that the current ban on bituminous coal will not now be extended nationwide for the 2019/20 heating season. Having discussed this issue with the Attorney General, the Department is now working to finalise a legally robust plan which will improve air quality by reducing particulate matter in the air. Pending the completion of this work the Minister said that he is aware of the need to provide clarity now to the public and to the trade to enable them to adequately plan for purchases of stock for the 2019/20 heating season.
The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, was first introduced in Dublin in 1990, and subsequently extended to major cities. Following a public consultation process, it was further extended in 2012, and now applies in 26 urban areas nationwide.
In light of its health and environmental benefits, it had been announced by a number of previous Ministers that the ban would be extended to the entire territory of the State. However, from recent press reports, a number of coal firms have indicated that they would legally challenge this decision.