Air Enforcement

Air  quality  in  Ireland  is  generally  good. However, there  are localised issues in some cities, towns and villages. Air quality is typically measured by examining concentrations of Particulate Matter (PM), specifically PM10 and PM2.5. Both PM10 and PM2.5 are very small particles which can enter deep the respiratory tract. Inhalation of these particles can increase the risk, frequency and severity of respiratory illness. The health impacts from solid fuel particulates, and the potential health, environmental and nuisance impacts from solvents, is well known. Strong enforcement by local authorities on the use of controlled fuel is subsequently necessary to reduce particulates and other pollutants in the air.

Local authority air enforcement was 'Below Target' in 2018 (EPA, 2020) . Performance has remained 'Below Target' since 2016. Specific areas of interest within this include:

  • Performance assessment for solid fuel inspections decreased to ‘Below Target’ in 2018 from ‘Target’ in 2016. Inspection numbers have also decreased by approximately 200 to 903 inspections in 2018 compared with the two years previous to this.
  • Gradual improvements have occurred in the areas of decorative paints and solvents inspections with ‘Target’ performance in 2018 compared with ‘Minimum’ and 'Unsatisfactory’ performance in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
  • Petroleum vapour enforcement was 'Minimum'  in 2018, improving from ‘Unsatisfactory’ assessment between 2014-2016.
  • Enforcement of air indicators examined continues to be inconsistent nationwide, with some local authorities completing all planned inspections and others having a very low percentage completion rate or not undertaking any inspections.

Overall, 20 local authorities were 'Excellent', 3 'Above Target' or on 'Target', and 8 'Below Target', 'Minimum', 'Unsatisfactory' or 'Unacceptable' with respect to air enforcement in 2018.

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