Study on Air Pollution Highlights the Need for Government Action to Create a Sustainable Biomass Market

Reacting to the release of a study of air pollution from fuel burning, IFA’s Alternative Land Use Team Leader James Murphy said that years of Government inaction has stymied the creation of a sustainable biomass industry and an associated renewables domestic heat market. James Murphy said, “The development of a biomass market and accompanying supply chain will deliver a win-win situation for Ireland. On the domestic front, the incorporation of biomass into manufactured smokeless fuels will significantly reduce domestic fuel pollution and associated deaths. In addition, these fuels are proven to burn more efficiently, delivering greater heat per euro spent while reducing our carbon emissions”.

“Further benefits are the displacement of fossil fuel imports and the creation of real employment in rural economies. However, significant roadblocks have been placed in front of any biofuels/biomass company that attempted to break into what has been a protected market dominated by semi-state companies and Government quangos.”

“A lack of clear policy direction by Government to date, without tangible incentives for stakeholders, has meant that projects are not bankable through the normal funding channels. The Government’s planned Renewable Heat Incentive must focus on the key deliverables of air quality, carbon abatement and job creation by putting the necessary support policies and structures in place to stimulate primary production.”

James Murphy said, “An announcement by Government to move to a smoke-free Ireland would be an initial first step in sending a clear message to farmers, manufacturers, investors and lending institutions that Ireland is serious about developing a sustainable, indigenous biomass industry. In addition, the Government’s announced amendments to the Solid Fuel Carbon Tax which were published in the 2013 Finance (No.2) Bill must be enacted. This will financially incentivise householders to switch to safer, more efficient and environmentally-friendly manufactured fuels”.

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