Proposed cap to exempt communities from ban on selling turf 'not workable'

ireland
Proposed Cap To Exempt Communities From Ban On Selling Turf 'Not Workable' Proposed Cap To Exempt Communities From Ban On Selling Turf 'Not Workable'
In April, Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan floated the idea that communities with up to 500 people may be exempt from any ban on gifting or selling turf to neighbours or friends. Photo: Getty Images
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A former minister for rural development has said that a proposed cap to exempt communities from any ban on selling turf cannot and will not work.

New measures to ban the sale of smoky fuels are set to come into effect on September 1st.

Several Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs have expressed concern about Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan’s move to clamp down on turf burning at a time when fuel bills are rising sharply.

Speaking to Newstalk, Fine Gael TD Michael Ring said people need turf now and there is no alternative at the moment.

"We want them to be able to continue on at present to be able to cut turf, and anybody that's cutting turf at the moment needs it now and in the future," Mr Ring said.

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"There is no alternative for rural Ireland at the moment and this is not the time to be talking about not cutting turf.

"Turf is needed now more than ever, particularly with the cost of fuel, oil, petrol and diesel.

"All kinds of coal, briquettes, they have all gone up substantially over the last couple of months.

"Particularly in many places in rural Ireland, turf is the only thing that they use, turf is what they want, turf is what they cut, and Fine Gael will make sure that these people are protected into the future."

Mr Ring said he hopes to bring in proposals that will help the situation.

In April, Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan floated the idea that communities with up to 500 people may be exempt from any ban on gifting or selling turf to neighbours or friends.

"It's only a number and that number cannot work and will not work," he said.

"[We] cannot have a situation that one townland or one village or one area might have 510 people and the other area might have 498 people.

"And people could be cutting [turf] with the 498 and the 510, they wouldn't be able to cut.

"That's not a workable proposal at all.

"But I have no doubt that we will bring in proposals that will be acceptable to the people of rural Ireland."

The Minister for Environment previously defended the planned restrictions on turf: “I don’t believe we should ignore it, and we won’t, this government will act and will deliver practical measures that are not there to punish anyone, that are part of a way of actually managing this so that we can protect people from fuel poverty and protect lives at the same time.

“And I’m very confident we can and will do that.”

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