Smoke Control Legislation

Smoky Coal Ban

The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous fuel (or 'smoky coal ban') was first introduced in Dublin in 1990 in response to severe episodes of winter smog that resulted from the widespread use of smoky coal for residential heating. The ban proved effective in reducing smoke and sulphur dioxide levels and was subsequently extended to other areas. The ban now applies in twenty cities and towns including Kilkenny City and environs and Waterford City environs. Air quality monitoring by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown levels of particulate matter (PM10) are lower in these areas than in towns where the ban does not apply.


Benefits of a smoky coal ban include very significant reductions in respiratory problems and indeed mortalities from the effects of burning smoky coal. The original ban in Dublin has been cited widely as a successful policy intervention and has become something of a best practice icon within the international clean air community. In the region of 8,000 lives have been saved in Dublin since the introduction of the smoky coal ban back in 1990. An estimate of these benefits in monetary terms put the value at over 20 million euro.

Ban on burning

A ban on the burning of smoky coal and other prohibited fuels now applies in all smoky coal ban specified areas to complement the ban on the marketing, sale and distribution.
There is 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 and so 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 concerning the products they purchase.


Complaints regarding the marketing, sale, and distribution and burning of prohibited fuels or smoky emissions from the use of prohibited fuels in smoky coal ban specified areas should be reported to the Environment Section of Kilkenny County Council by telephone on 056 7794470 or by email at

  • Authorised local authority staff may undertake inspections of premises and vehicles being used for the sale and distribution of solid fuel as well as collect samples.
  • A local authority may bring a prosecution under the Air Pollution Act for breaches of the Regulations.
  • The maximum fine amounts for breaches of the Regulations is 5,000 euro on summary conviction.
  • Fixed payment notices (or 'on the spot fines') have been introduced for alleged offences relating to the marketing, sale and distribution of prohibited fuels in specified areas. Persons found to be marketing, selling or distributing prohibited fuels in breach of the Regulations are now liable for a fixed payment notice of between €250 and €1,000 depending on the offence.


Guidelines and Information


Maps of low smoke zones in County Kilkenny can be viewed below

Smokeless Fuel\Low Smoke Zone Kilkenny City & Environs

Smokeless Fuel\Low Smoke Zone South Kilkenny Waterford City Environs

Guidelines for Retailers

Guidelines for Fuel Merchants

Information for Householders

Householder Information


Smoke Control Legislation (SI 128/2016)


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