Silouette graphic representing Tipperary

Press release Air Pollution Act 1987 (Solid Fuels) Regulations 2022.

solid fuel
4 March 2024

4th March 2024

In Autumn 2023, Tipperary County Council in partnership with five other Local Authorities, carried out solid fuel sampling to monitor compliance with the requirements of the Air Pollution Act 1987 (Solid Fuels) Regulations 2022. 

Under these Regulations, coal products and manufactured solid fuels must have a sulphur content of less than 2% by weight on a dry ash-free basis, and this limit will reduce to 1% from September 2025, subject to a market assessment.

The burning of high sulphur coal products creates air pollution from (i) sulphur dioxide (SO2) which causes respiratory problems, and (ii) increased levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that can pass through the lungs and enter the blood stream causing cardiopulmonary disorders and strokes. The vast majority of the deaths attributable to air pollution in Ireland are caused by fine particulate matter.

Twenty-five coal samples were obtained by the six local authorities on a pro-rata (population) basis and these were analysed for sulphur content by an accredited laboratory in the U.K.

Of the six samples obtained by Tipperary County Council, five were found to breach the prescribed sulphur limit.

The breaches are of serious concern and Tipperary County Council are engaging with the solid fuel trade and also collaborating with the Department of Environment, Climate & Communications (DECC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in this regard. The agencies are engaging with producers and suppliers to ensure compliance with the regulations. 

Tipperary County Council will be carrying out further sampling in Spring 2024.