Irish industry and government pact to reduce sulphur emissions

In an effort to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions the Irish government has signed an agreement with the principal national solid fuel importer, Solid Fuel Trade Group (SFTG), to reduce the sulphur content of bituminous coal and petcoke, as well as further extending the ban to sell bituminous coal to additional areas in Ireland.

The solid fuel industry is one of the nation’s great polluters with bituminous coal and petcoke producing almost two-thirds of Ireland’s 13.8 kilo-tonnes of sulphur dioxide emissions annually. The Government hopes this agreement will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 8,000-10,000 tonnes annually.

This negotiation between industry and government has extended the ban of bituminous coal to four additional areas in Ireland: Bray, Kilkenny, Sligo and Tralee. The extension is in addition to ten areas where the ban already exists (see related story). On top of the ban and the phased reduction in the maximum sulphur content of petcoke from 2.9% in 2002 to 2% by 2005, this agreement also demands increased sales of smokeless fuels in certain areas.

“I am delighted to be signing this agreement today,” commented Dan Wallace Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and local Government. “This agreement ensures cleaner, reduced sulphur coal and pet coke to every domestic user,” he added.

This voluntary pact was agreed by government, consumers and industry, a spokesperson for the Irish government told edie. Under the Gothenburg agreement Ireland must reduce its sulphur dioxide emissions to 76% below the 1990 levels by 2010. “Given this development with SFTG we are endeavouring to meet that target,” the spokesperson added.

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