Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has welcomed the recognition of turf cutters’ rights as part of this week’s announcement by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, on the new standards for all domestic solid fuels.
As part of the announcement, the minister clarified that in order to accommodate those with rights to harvest sod peat, no ban on its burning will be introduced. However, the statement added that “a regulatory regime to reduce its harm in more urbanised areas is under examination”.
Speaking in the wake of the announcement, Dep Fitzmaurice said: “Following on from a meeting we had earlier this year, I am glad that Minister Ryan has clearly stated that the rights of turf cutters’ will be recognised and that there will be no ban on the burning of “sod peat”.
“Though the wording of the document might be a little strange to people from rural areas, who would be more accustomed to calling it turf rather than “sod peat”.
“But we must continue to keep these measures under review. The caveat of the potential introduction of a regulatory regime to supposedly reduce the burning of turf in more urbanised areas needs to be closely monitored.
“The definition of “more urbanised area” will be key, as people in villages, towns and cities can also have a right to cut and burn turf.
“It was also interesting to note that in its initial article this morning on the topic, it appeared that RTE failed to include the line in the statement referring to accommodating those with rights to harvest turf and that there would be ban on the burning of it.”
On the topic of timber, the Roscommon-Galway TD added that people need to recognise that cutting timber and burning it the following week is not good for themselves or their chimneys.
“It is hugely important that timber is left to season before it is burnt.
“I believe that the 20% moisture target over the next four years is attainable if timber is cut and left to season, without having to employ the more expensive methods of drying it.
“I have looked for clarity on how smoke emission rates are calculated regarding peat briquettes and other fuels, as well as further details around sulphur content permitted for all fuels,” he concluded.