Public consultation on the draft Air Quality Strategy is now open
Environment, Climate and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan today (Tuesday 8 March) launched a public consultation on the draft Air Quality Strategy for Ireland.
Minister Ryan said the consultation is an opportunity for everyone to consider the issue and make suggestions on how best to reduce air pollution and promote clean air.
The public consultation is now open for submissions until the closing date of Tuesday 3 May.
Launching the public consultation on the draft strategy, Minister Ryan said:
“Clean air is essential to sustain life in all its forms and the environment on which we all depend. It is also synonymous with well-being.
He added that clean air not only benefits communities, but also habitats and wildlife, while contributing to the “best possible environment for us as a society to live, work, grow and age in”.
In Ireland, the air quality is generally good, according to Minister Ryan, but it is still estimated that 1,410 people die prematurely each year across the country due to air pollution.
Minister Ryan said he was determined to meet this “crucial public health and environmental challenge”.
Air Quality Strategy
The Air Quality Strategy provides a high-level policy framework that identifies actions to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air while achieving broader national goals.
The benefits of the draft strategy, according to his ministry, are warmer homes; improved agricultural practices; more sustainable transportation options; better health; and less carbon emissions.
The consultation will take into account the ambition of the 2021 Climate Action Plan because, explained Minister Ryan, many sources of air pollution, including those from the combustion of solid fuels, are also sources carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Minister Ryan added:
“Air quality is closely associated with our climate and our ecosystems. There is a clear correlation between the actions needed to reduce air pollution and those needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The strategy includes several air and climate policy measures, including those aimed at improving the energy efficiency of homes and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
The five priorities outlined in the strategy are:
- Continuous air quality improvements across the country;
- Integration of air quality considerations into government-wide policy development;
- Increased evidence base to help advance our understanding of pollution sources – to deal with them more effectively;
- Strengthen regulations and improve the effectiveness of our enforcement systems;
- Promote and increase awareness of the importance of clean air.
The changes promoted in the strategy, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Communications said, will have economic and societal benefits that will enable the transition to a long-term sustainable economy.