Council Partners Environment News

Staying Healthy During the Winter Heating Season

Cavan County Council are providing information on staying healthy during the winter heating season, when there is a higher risk of health issues due to air pollution.

The burning of solid fuels – products such as coal, fire logs, fire bags or wood which are burned for heating – leads to an increase in the amount of fine particulate matter and other pollutants in our homes, and in the air. This has a negative impact on local air quality in our communities.

The main health effects of air pollution include stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. These conditions can lead to sickness and ill health, as well as premature mortality. Air pollution is also linked to increases in respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia and can have negative impacts on the central nervous and reproductive systems. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are most at risk.

Making better choices when heating our homes can positively impact our health, and that of the community.

To improve air quality and reduce the associated health impacts, it is important to reduce the emissions in the air that are produced from the domestic burning of solid fuels.

Since 2022, new regulations have been in force to improve air quality and improve people’s health chances and outcomes, by restricting the retail, online, and commercial sale of smoky fuels, including smoky coal, turf, and wet wood. These fuels are proven to be a major contributor to air pollution in Ireland.

If your home is heated by stove or fireplace using coal products you should be purchasing products with the packaging labelled with the words contents comply with the Air Pollution Act Regulations, and with the registration number issued by the EPA to the fuel producer.

You may be able to source unapproved fuels outside the State, but it is an offence to transport an unapproved fuel. Enforcement officers are permitted to stop vehicles and check if there are unapproved solid fuels on board. The onus is on the driver to prove the fuel is an approved fuel.

Complaints regarding the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of prohibited fuels or smoky emissions from the use of prohibited fuels should be reported to the Environment Section in Cavan County Council. 

Source: Cavan County Council

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