Lower carbon tax considered for smokeless fuel

A lower carbon tax on smokeless solid fuels is being considered in a bid to encourage more people to use them, according to Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

Carbon tax now applies to coal, turf and peat briquettes, since it was extended to solid fuel products.

Mr Hogan said his department, in consultation with the Department of Finance, would now examine options to reduce the carbon tax liability for smokeless low carbon solid fuels containing coal and or peat.

He said the aim would be to provide a “win, win, win” for the consumer and the environment by promoting fuels that reduced air pollution, helped the climate and minimised the cost to the consumer. The carbon tax adds €1.20 to a 40kg bag of coal and 24 cent to a bale of briquettes. Next year the rate of carbon tax on solid fuels is set to double.

The tax on solid fuels, introduced by the previous government, had been deferred for two years because of the potential impact on lower income households.

Age Action said the Government must act to ease the hardship created by the carbon tax on solid fuels.

“The Government must recognise the greater energy needs of the most vulnerable of older people by providing sufficient supports to enable them to heat their homes,” said Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins.

Mr Hogan also announced at the weekend that an all-island air quality study would examine air pollution from residential heating, particularly from smoky coal.

He said the study was agreed between himself and Alex Attwood, the North’s environment minister, at a recent North South Ministerial Council environment meeting.

The announcement of the study coincides with World Asthma Day.


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