An Taisce’s submission on the public consultation to inform the development of a National Clean Air Strategy. (Link at bottom of page)

Ian Lumley, An Taisce’s Advocacy Officer, stated “We can choose the food we eat and the water we drink but we can’t choose the air we breathe. We at An Taisce recognize the importance of clean air to the health of the Nation. Ireland prides itself as a healthy and green Island with prevailing winds blowing in off the Atlantic. Our natural advantages however are not enough to ensure safe levels of pollutants including PM2.5, PM10 , NOₓ, SOₓ, O₃, and NH₄”.

An Taisce’s submission recommended the following:

  • The reconstitution of the remit and scope of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure effective national monitoring, regulation and enforcement on all air pollution impacts.

  • Legislative and fiscal reform to mandate and inform the actions of all Government Departments, State Agencies, Local Authorities and other decision makers in meeting World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality standards as a legal responsibility.

  • The enhancement of citizen rights to secure legal redress on Clean Air in accordance with the Aarhus Convention.

  • The progressive reduction and elimination of locations with days exceeding WHO emission thresholds and limits, focusing on traffic pollution and domestic fuel burning.

  • Resourcing the large-scale retrofitting of the national housing stock giving priority to areas with high solid fuel use.

  • Ensuring that the application of the overdue national “smoky” coal ban in 2018 should not be allowed to generate increased emissions from peat and biomass.

  • Action on diesel emissions, through the range of fiscal and other measures recommended in the An Taisce responses in the transport section of this submission, and which are supported by public health researchers and other advocacy bodies with a clear target for phasing in low emission vehicles for all transport sectors.

  • Large scale acceleration of public transport and cycling infrastructure investment.

  • The re energising of the measures set out but not implemented in the 2009 Department of Transport “Smarter Travel” policy particularity action to achieve modal shift from cars , including taxis , to walking, cycling and low emission public transport, with clear targets to be met.

  • Requiring the agricultural sector to implement effective monitoring and abatement of ammonia emissions, and to control the impact of land burning.

  • Public information programmes be primarily directed at supporting enhanced public health protection through legislation, regulation and enforcement, and redirection of taxation policy and public investment to ensure that Ireland meets WHO clean air standards.