Oireachtas Monitor – 30th November 2020

Oireachtas Monitor

Climate & Health

Week beginning 30th November 2020

To ask the Minister for Transport if his Department has received recommendations to address traffic air pollution from the working group on urban transport-related air pollution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. — Róisín Shortall. [40940/20]

Eamon Ryan: The Urban Transport Related Air Pollution (UTRAP) group was jointly convened by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (now Department of Environment, Climate and Communications) and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (now Department of Transport). It was established to:

– examine transport-related air pollution;

– raise stakeholder awareness of this pollution, its occurrence in urban contexts and its legislative framework;

– review and identify best-practice measures to reduce transport-related air pollution in Irish cities and towns; and

– develop an evidence-based national policy framework within which local authorities could address the NO2exceedance in Dublin and any potential future exceedances.

The group includes representatives from government Departments, environmental, health and transport agencies, local authorities, and additional key stakeholders.

Its work programme has included analysis and review of:

– the nature of Irish transport-related air pollution in general and in cities;

– public health impacts;

– the nature of the Irish vehicle fleet and vehicle emissions standards;

– available air-pollutant and transport-related pollutant data;

– on-going research, and national and urban-specific air pollutant monitoring processes and models;

– tax measures;

– on-going and projected fleet transition measures in the private and public vehicle fleets, including buses and rail infrastructure; and

– the work of the on-going Department of Transport Five Cities Traffic Demand Management Study.

The initial report and recommendations are currently at an advanced stage of drafting, and will soon be presented to the Group for review. Once the Group finalises and agrees the report and its recommendations they will submit them to me and I plan to publish the report when I have considered it.

To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if it is legal to sell coal without the EPA badge on the bag; the person or body responsible for monitoring coal sellers to ensure they are compliant with legislation and taxation; and if he will make a statement on the matter – Pauline Tully [40749/20]

Eamon Ryan: Coal and low-smoke coal based products being offered for sale within the State must meet certain environmental specifications. The National Standards Authority of Ireland has prepared an annual traceability audit system, known as SWiFT 7, for showing compliance with these requirements. Bagging operators placing coal and low-smoke coal based products on the market must have a SWiFT7 certificate and register with the Environmental Protection Agency. For the purposes of establishing compliance, the scheme also requires that a non-detachable label be included on the packaging of all solid fuel placed on the market in the State as a mark of quality and traceability. Failure to do so is an offence under the Air Pollution Act, which provides for fines of up to €5,000 on summary conviction.

Local Authorities are responsible for monitoring compliance with these requirements, and for issuing enforcement proceedings as appropriate.  Responsibility for matters in relation to taxation remains the responsibility of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Seanad Order of Business 2nd December

Air Quality issue raised by Senator Malcolm Byrne: https://www.kildarestreet.com/sendebates/?id=2020-12-02a.51&s=pollution#g86

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