Most small villages in Ireland “will not be affected” by the proposed lawn ban, says the minister


According to the Green Party Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity, most small villages in Ireland will be “unaffected” by the lawn ban.

Minister Pippa Hackett said the move will focus on large urban centers that face high air quality issues.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan announced that small rural communities of fewer than 500 people will be exempt from a controversial ban on selling and giving away peat.

Mr Ryan said the regulations would aim to ban the commercial sale of turf and would only target retail outlets. He added that when peat is sold, inspectors are not sent to police communes.

While Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michael Ring called the compromise of allowing small villages of less than 500 people to burn peat “stupid”.

Secretary Hackett said it was “regrettable” to hear Mr Ring making such reference to the regulation and that the ultimate goal of the move was to improve people’s quality of life.

“I think first it’s about getting back to what it’s about and it’s ultimately about air quality, it’s about saving people’s lives and improving people’s quality of life,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“Living in Offaly I know exactly what this plan means for a lot of people locally and I think that’s why the proposals are pretty fair as they are.”

“I find it unfortunate that MP Ring is using terms like ‘stupid’ in relation to regulation and strategy that will save lives. I don’t think that’s the right word at all.”

“I also think it’s unfortunate that his attitude and that of Deputy Cowen and Flanaghan is the reason we’ve waited years for this. Successive Environment Ministers have not been able to push this through. People die every year, thousands of people have died as a result of inaction.”

Ms Hackett said the Government is “absolutely aware” of the difficulties this ban is putting people living in rural Ireland in.

“And so we’re focusing on the urban centers that have big air quality problems, and they’re spread across the country,” she said.

“I mean, is there ever a right time to try and take action to save lives? Anytime is a good time to save lives. We are in a public consultation, it didn’t come out of the blue. It was some years in the making. We do that, we consult with our government colleagues.”

“We are listening, Minister Ryan and I met Irish Rural Link yesterday and we are working with such groups to perhaps reach out to people at the local level to understand the issues.”

Minister Hackett said small villages still have “access” to turf and can still burn it.

“One of the problems here is that we don’t have exact numbers on who is using how much peat because there’s a lot of it that’s probably circulating on the black market and we don’t have those numbers but we do need that exposure” , she said.

“Most small villages in Ireland will not be affected, they will still have access to turf, they will still buy it and they will still be able to burn it. It is the larger urban centers that have high air quality issues that we are dealing with.” Most small villages in Ireland “will not be affected” by the proposed lawn ban, says the minister

Fry Electronics Team

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