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Smoky Coal Ban

Smoky Coal Information

Wicklow County Council reminds you that only coal sold in sealed bags labelled “APPROVED FUEL – contents comply with the Air Pollution Act Regulations” may be burned, bought, sold or displayed  in the designated low smoke zones of the Arklow, Wicklow Town / Rathnew, Greystones / Delgany and Bray areas. You can check if you are located within a LSZ using your Eircode and visiting https://www.wicklow.ie/Living/Services/Environment/Pollution-Control/Air-Quality/Smokeless-Coal-Ban

Every year in Ireland 1,300 people die prematurely due to poor air quality; the majority asthma sufferers. (Currently, 1 in 13 people in Ireland suffer from asthma). The very fine dust released from smoky coal is the main source and cause.

Cleaner air saves lives and improves quality of life for everyone.


Locations of the designated smoke-free areas in Co. Wicklow.

Wicklow County Council is charged with implementing the smokeless coal regulations. There are five designated smoke-free urban areas:

  • Bray
  • Arklow
  • Greystones/Delgany
  • Wicklow Town
  • Rathnew

Only smoke-free products can be sold in these areas. The Pollution Control Division carries out checks on suppliers to ensure compliance with the regulations. Air quality has vastly improved in these areas since the introduction of the ban, with a significant reduction in smog and sulphur dioxide since the 1980s.

Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations 2012

Wicklow, Rathnew, Greystones and Delgany are most recent areas to be designated under the above Regulations as areas where ‘smoky’ coal is to be banned for heating purposes. Arklow and Bray are already designated under the Regulations. The smoke and gases from the burning of smoky coal can cause severe health problems for certain people including those vulnerable to lung infections but everyone benefi ts in the long run from having better quality air to breathe.

From 1 May 2013, measures were introduced to improve air quality in these areas. For the first time, it is an offence to burn smoky coal in a house that is in an area where the use of smoky coal for heating purposes has been banned.

What can you do to improve the air quality?

  • Do not burn coal that is not smokeless
  • Do not buy coal unless it is marked as being smokeless (see below) and in sealed bags. Do not buy coal outside the Wicklow, Rathnew, Greystones/Delgany, Arklow and Bray areas for use inside Wicklow, Rathnew, Greystones/Delgany, Arklow and Bray unless it is marked as being smokeless
  • Report to your local authority those retailers in Wicklow, Rathnew, Greystones/Delgany, Arklow and Bray thought to be selling smoky coal.

Smokeless coal must be marked: “SMOKELESS FUEL — Contents comply with the Air Pollution Act Regulations”

If this statement is not on the bag then there is a real possibility that the bag does not contain smokeless coal and should not be offered for sale.

Please do not hesitate to contact Environment Section, Wicklow County Council at Phone: (0404) 20127 should you have any queries on the contents of this notice or wish to report an incident of air pollution.

Read more on the Air Pollution Act Regulations