26September2022

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Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

It is now clear that the British people have made the choice to leave the European Union. The countr...


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Environment Minister Announces North-South Air Pollution Plans

Following the North South Ministerial Council Environment meeting in Dublin with the Republic’s Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, the Ministers discussed plans to address air pollution from the residential combustion of solid fuels. Minister Attwood said: “Minister Hogan and I have today agreed to commission a joint North-South study on all-island air quality. In particular, the study will examine the issue of residential burning of smoky coal.

“Burning smoky coal at home can have significant negative impacts on local air quality and as a consequence on our health. We need to understand better the scale and nature of the problem so that we can consider effective ways to tackle it.”

The pollution is most noticeable in urban or built up areas, particularly in winter, and has in the past led to the Department of the Environment issuing High Air Pollution Alerts to warn those whose health is most at risk.

The Minister was speaking today at an Environment Meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council. This followed on from Minister Attwood's attendance at an Informal Council of Environment Ministers from all EU Member States, part of the programme of Ireland’s hosting of the EU Presidency, at which Air Quality was a major issue on the agenda.

While certain measures are already in place in both jurisdictions which seek to address solid fuel emissions, Ministers agree that there is potential for more to be done.

Minister Attwood continued: “Air pollution from smoky coal can have negative impacts on people’s health. I can think of no better time than now with 2013 designated as the European Year of Air to take steps necessary to address this issue.

“However, before we look at policy options to deal with the problem, we need to have a sound evidence-base on which to proceed. I therefore welcome the joint study we are proposing today which will provide us with the evidence to take the necessary and proportionate action to improve air quality and realise the significant health benefits.”

Source: Northern Ireland Executive - Environment Minister Announces North-South Air Pollution Plans