A threatened ban on the sale and distribution of turf has been “parked for now,” Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.
It comes as Environment Secretary and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan expressed his intention to ban the marketing, sale and distribution of sod peat from this September under new solid fuel rules.
However, following a major backlash from bipartisan rural TDs and rural communities who rely on turf to heat their homes, the Fine Gael leader confirmed to his party colleagues that the move has been put on hold.
Speaking to the Farming Independent after this afternoon’s meeting, a well-informed political source said: ‘The party was upset about it, it was dismissed. We know there has long been an issue with the charcoal ban, but for Eamon Ryan to formulate that response in a parliamentary question came as a complete no-brainer to all of us.
“The Tánaiste addressed it at the party leader level, and the concern and anger it had caused, and that there are no details on how it could or even would be enforceable.
“We know what the problem is with smoke charcoal, but the incorporation of peat would be something we would have a big problem with, especially in times of an energy crisis.
“The Tánaiste said it will be parked for the time being and that there would need to be deep and meaningful discussions before it would be revisited.
“We want a clear rationale behind what is being proposed, this was really hang gliding without any detail.
“Some rural tank destroyers have been on the Tánaiste for the past few days. The people who would be most affected would be older people living alone. We need to see a plan of what Eamon Ryan plans for people whose homes are heated with peat.
“Talking about it misses the reality of how people in rural Ireland heat their homes and in a time of energy crisis it’s even harder to understand.”
Last week Minister Ryan outlined the move in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin.
Asked by the Kerry TD whether people can continue to cut and sell peat after September 2022, when new solid fuel regulations are due to come into force, Minister Ryan said: “You [the new regulations] needed as around 1,300 people in Ireland die prematurely every year from air pollution caused by burning solid fuels. Research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency also shows that peat’s contribution to air pollution is significant.
“Mowing lawns by citizens for use in their own homes is a traditional activity in many peatlands and while action is needed to reduce emissions associated with peat burning, these traditions are respected.
“Therefore, in order to accommodate those who have the right to harvest sod peat, no ban on cutting or burning is introduced, but a legal provision is made to prohibit the placing on the market, sale or distribution of sod peat.
“As such, persons who hold peat-removal rights may continue to extract peat to heat their own homes, but they may not place it on the market for sale or distribution to others.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/ban-on-sale-of-turf-parked-for-now-tanaiste-tells-parliamentary-party-meeting-41551586.html Ban on sale of lawn “parked for now” Tánaiste to parliamentary group meeting