Fuel ban issue still causing uncertainty

In April of this year, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton confirmed that the current ban on bituminous coal would not now be extended nationwide for the 2019/20 heating season.

Having discussed this issue with the Attorney General, the Department is 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 was aware of the need to provide clarity now to the public and to the trade to enable them 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.
In June, Hardware Association Ireland were part of the Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) group that met with a committee from the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly who were undertaking an inquiry into illicit trade on the border in light of Brexit. The RAS group were confident that on the day they effectively got across their key points on cross-border solid fuel smuggling while expressing a general frustration about the lack of enforcement of current legislation and at the lack of knowledge by those in a position of power and the general public as to the consequences of cross-border smuggling. There was agreement by all attending that a national cross-agency public education campaign was required and that the Parliamentary group`s final report would reflect this requirement.

RAS also stressed the importance of The Sale of Illicit Goods Bill 2017, currently before Dail Eireann at Third Stage, as well as the need for extra resources and better cross-border communication. The Bill seeks to make it an offence to purchase illicit alcohol, illicit tobacco and illicit solid fuel; to make it an offence to purchase such goods from an unregistered or unlicensed retailer; to provide for the imposition of a penalty in respect of such offences; to provide for an on-the-spot fine in respect of such offences; and to provide for related matters.

Carbon Tax will be a burning issue into the future

As part of our annual Commercial Feature on Fuels, we asked Andy Maher – Managing Director of Stafford Fuels to do some crystal ball gazing on the immediate future of Solid Fuels.

A new fuel season is upon us, but a lot of the old uncertainties remain. The Government, having pulled back from the implementation of the Bituminous Ban, has not committed to any new date. But the issue of emissions and clean air will not go away and I do expect the Government will institute a Nationwide Bituminous Ban, however many years late it is.

The issue of Carbon Tax will dominate the headlines all the way to Budget 2020. It is now almost certain that a €10 per tonne of Carbon (€1.20 on a bag of coal) increase will be implemented. There now seems to be agreement on rising Carbon Tax to €80 per tonne of
Carbon by 2030 adding €7.20 to the cost of a bag of coal\smokeless fuel and making it virtually unaffordable. There is acknowledgement of the fuel poverty issue but no agreement on how to mitigate it.

There is a second issue with any increase in Budget 2020. When Carbon Tax was introduced in 2010, solid fuel got a derogation, when the tax on Oil & Gas was introduced. The tax was implemented on Budget night (Dec 9th) on Road Diesel and Petrol but held over until 1st of May for home heating oil and Kerosene. When it was introduced on Solid Fuel in 2012 , the implementation date was 1st May, 2013. Any other date, other than a summer date, to introduce a change in Solid Fuel Carbon Tax would cause massive confusion and escalate illegal activity. We would hope common sense will prevail on this important detail.

After a very difficult (mild) winter in which volumes fell between 15% and 20% and with the negative ongoing publicity on coal relating to both emissions and Carbon tax, some would see the glass as quarter full and rapidly emptying through the hole in the bottom. However, it is important to remember the vital service being provided to a significant section of the population many of whom are elderly and rural and many in fuel poverty. The need for solid fuel will continue for many years to come as the cost of deep retrofitting of 500,000 houses, even over 10 years is enormous.

There will be a future for solid fuel. It will include a very significant element of biomass when technology and price can come together to provide a quality product at an affordable price. In the meantime the trade will ignore the negativity and continue to provide a vital service.

Energy solutions for all


The Flogas Superser is the solution for retailers to help their customers successfully manage heating costs in their homes. The contemporary Flogas Superser heaters are
fitted with easy glide castors for hassle free movement from room to room.

‘Flogas Superser Heaters are the perfect solution for your cost conscious customers. They are an economic solution to instantly spot-heat a room which many customers find far more economical than turning on the central heating’ Said Eoin O’Flynn of Flogas Ireland, the exclusive Superser distributor in Ireland and the UK.


Gaslight Cylinders

Flogas Gaslight cylinders are the smart choice for those camping, caravanning, boating, barbequing or using patio heaters. The innovative, lightweight Flogas Gaslight cylinder helps the customer avoid heavy lifting, and the semi-translucent exterior ensures they will not run out of gas.

Available in 5kg and 10kg cylinders.


Kindling Cracker delivers real world ingenuity

Irish International Trading Corporation (IITC) are delighted to introduce their exclusive new and innovative product to the Irish market, The Kindling Cracker delivers real world ingenuity, invented by a young girl who was determined to avoid injuries from splitting firewood into Kindling. This simple, safe and easy to use design that began as a science project has become an award-winning product across the world.

The Kindling Cracker is made in an Australian foundry. It consists of one solid piece of high-quality cast iron. The only maintenance it needs is a touch of paint from time to time. The Kindling Cracker is a top-grade cast iron splitting head mounted inside of a 12’’ H Cast iron frame.

To make a perfect piece of Kindling just place a piece of firewood inside the iron safety ring and strike with a blunt instrument, such as a hammer or mallet. This drives the wood down onto the splitting wedge for a quick easy split. There is no need to swing a sharp axe blade dangerously close to your hand. It is the perfect companion for creating perfect kindling
for your fire.

  • A safe and easy way to make Kindling with no moving blade or sharpened object passing by your hands.
  • Splits firewood with less force than a standard axe.
  • 6.5” inside diameter top ring.
  • Made of high cast iron in Australia.
  • Virtually maintenance free.

See the Kindling Cracker in action; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIIE746gDL8

For further information contact IITC at 021 4705800 or 045 888300 or email info@iitc.ie or visit www.iitc.ie

Calor launches Ireland’s first bioLPg cylinder through Calor Retailers

In April 2018 Calor were the first in Ireland to bring BioLPG, a 100% renewable gas, to the market. Calor BioLPG is the only renewable gas which is available across Ireland and the new clean energy is already making inroads into the energy market for homes and businesses. Calor BioLPG delivers emissions savings of up to 90% on conventional LPG.

Calor have indicated that by the end of 2020, 10% of all Calor gas sold in Ireland will be renewable. The company is already well over half way to achieving that goal. In April 2019 BioLPG became available in Calor’s range of patio gas cylinders. This means consumers can enjoy their BBQ days knowing that they are making a small contribution to the future of our environment. BioLPG will be available in the 6kg lightweight and 11kg patio gas cylinders through Calor gas stockists.

Interested in becoming a Calor stockist, call 1850 812 850 to speak to a member of the cylinder support team or visit calorgas.ie.