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Air Quality & Solid Fuel Regulations

For full information on air quality in your region or for further reading on air quality we recommend you visit the EPA website on air quality at: http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/

National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network 

The Environmental Protection Agency manages the national ambient air quality monitoring network around Ireland.  They measure the levels of a number of atmospheric pollutants.  The pollutants of most concern are those whose main source is traffic such as Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide. 

Particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5)

There are many sources of particulate matter (dust) including vehicle exhaust emissions, soil and road surfaces, construction works and industrial emissions.

Particulate matter can be formed from reactions between different pollutant gases.

Small particles can penetrate the lungs and cause damage. These are known as PM10 (diameter less than 10µm) and PM2.5 (diameter less than 2.5µm).

There are high levels of PM10 in many cities and towns. In smokeless fuel zones, levels of particulate matter decreased after the ban on bituminous coal.

The air quality index for Longford Town is calculated on an hourly basis under the Small Towns AQIH Region. The Air Quality Map  shows you if air quality is good, fair, poor or very poor in your region.

You can find out if air quality is likely to affect your health and what you can do to protect your health on the Air Quality Index for Health page.

The Longford Town site is located on the Dublin Road, less than a mile from Longford town centre. Monitoring is done using a continuous monitor for PM2.5.  The most recent results can be viewed through the link below. Monitoring began at this site on the 14th May 2010.


Solid Fuel Regulations.

Longford Town to become a Low Smoke Zone from September 2020

Background to the ban


The ban applies in a number of cities and towns and will be extended to include Longford Town from September 2020.

The government has approved the extension of the ban on the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of bituminous coal (“the smoky coal ban”) to 13 additional towns nationwide, effective from September 2020.

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Recent air quality monitoring in three of these towns (Cobh, Enniscorthy and Longford) has shown that although air quality has met EU requirements, the results have been in exceedance of the stricter WHO air quality standard limits. On this basis, it has been decided that all built-up areas of similar size in the country would benefit from a ban.

The extension effectively means that smoky coal will be banned in all towns in the country with populations of over 10,000 people, as opposed to the 15,000 threshold that applied heretofore. The Minister has opted against proceeding with a nationwide ban on smoky coal at this time.

A ban on the burning of smoky coal and other prohibited fuels now applies in all smoky coal ban Low Smoke Zones (LSZs) to complement the ban on the marketing, sale and distribution.

Research indicates that the ban in Dublin resulted in over 350 fewer annual deaths. An estimate of these benefits in monetary terms put the value at over € 20m. Additional benefits of the regulations include many householders switching from solid fuels, which generally are less efficient and more polluting, to more efficient and less polluting gas or oil. The associated reduced fuel costs to consumers are estimated at €184m per year.

Where householders continue to rely on solid fuel, there is now a range of innovative low smoke solid fuel products, including low smoke coal products, available on the market. Low smoke solid fuel is cleaner as well as more carbon and heat-efficient. It can deliver climate benefits as well as improved air quality and human health benefits.

Under the Regulations all low smoke solid fuel products must be clearly labelled as per the Regulations. This allows householders to make an informed choice about the products they purchase.

Click on map link and you can enter your Eircode to see if your house is inside this zone.


Further information and frequently asked questions are available here :

Map-of-Longford-Town-low-smoke-zone.pdf (size 6.8 MB)

FAQ-Householders.pdf (size 219.6 KB)

FAQ-Retailer-Supplier.pdf (size 205.6 KB)