Air Quality

air quality

Air Quality Control
Air Quality in Ireland is governed by the Air Pollution Act 1987 and the Regulations made under this Act. Air Quality Standards are set in the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2011 (S.I. 180 of 2011).


Air Emissions Licenses
Local Authorities are empowered under the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Licensing of Industrial Plant) Regulations, 1988 to license certain classes of activities which may give rise to air emissions. Activities qualifying for an Air Emissions License are listed in Schedule 3 of the Air Pollution Act 1987 and it is the responsibility of Laois County Council to control and condition such activities. Click here for Air Emissions Register.


Solvents Regulations
The European Union (Installations and Activities Using Organic Solvents) Regulations 2012 ( S.I. No. 565 of 2012 ) (amended by S.I. No. 399/2014 and S.I. No. 347/2016), known as the Solvent Regulations, requires facilities undertaking activities specified under Schedule 1 of these regulations to register with Laois County Council and to obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the Council. This is done by a self certification scheme where the operators of the facility demonstrate compliance with the regulations by submitting to the Council a report from an Approved Assessor (see below for information on Approved Assessors’ Panels) on a regular basis. The most common type of activity requiring registration is the Dry Cleaning Industry.

Click here to see a list of currently certified Dry Cleaners

The European Union (Paints, Varnishes, Vehicle Refinishing Products and Activities) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 564/2012) (amended by S.I. No. 398/2014 and S.I. No. 348/2016), known as the Deco Paints Regulations, require any person involved in vehicle refinishing in the county to register with Laois County Council and to obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the Council. The method of obtaining a certificate is similar to that under the Solvent Regulations.

Click here to see a list of currently certified Spray Shops.


Approved Assessors’ Panels.

The revised regulations required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set up panels of Approved Assessors to replace the previous inspection regime.

Click here to view the listing of EPA-Approved Assessors of compliance with the “Deco Paints Regulations”.

Click here to view the listing of EPA-Approved Assessors of compliance with the “Solvents Regulations”.


Best Practice.

Click here to view the EPA’s Guidance Document on Best Practice for Dry Cleaning Establishments.

Click here to view the EPA’s Guidance Document on Best Practice Guidelines for Vehicle Refinishing.


Solid Fuel Regulations – Smoky Coal Ban

The Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations 2012-2016 provides the legal basis for the so called ‘Smoky Coal Ban’. These regulations ban the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of bituminous coal in the following ‘Low Smoke Zones (LSZs) in County Laois: Town and Environs of Carlow, including Graiguecullen SCB Carlow Map and in Portlaoise SCB Portlaoise Map.

Enforcement of the Regulations

It is an offence under Section 6 of these regulations for the occupier of any private dwelling in the Low Smoke Zones (Portlaoise and Graiguecullen) to burn bituminous (smoky) coal.

To ensure that all premises and suppliers are compliant with the new Regulations, ongoing inspections will be carried out.  Laois County Council may bring a prosecution under section 11 of the Air Pollution Act 1987 for breaches of the Regulations, with the maximum fine, if found guilty, being €5,000.  Fixed payment notices (or ‘On the Spot fines’) were also introduced for alleged offences relating to the marketing, sale and distribution of prohibited fuels in Low Smoke Zones. Persons found to be marketing, selling or distributing prohibited fuels in breach of the Regulations are now liable for a fixed payment notice of up to €1,000.

Nationwide Ban on Smoky Coal

Minister Denis Naughten has announced (December 2017) that Ireland will be the first country in Europe to extend a nationwide ban on smoky coal. A ban on the sale of smoky coal was first introduced in Dublin in 1990. Research has shown this move resulted in 350 fewer deaths per year throughout the city.

The ban, will come into effect incrementally, beginning from the heating season which is Autumn 2018. It is not proposed to introduce an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of smoky coal at that point but to allow a period of 12 months for the industry to ‘wash through’ existing stock with a full ban coming into effect from Autumn 2019.

Minister Naughten added: “Today is a key milestone in the process that will see a nationwide ban on smoky coal.  Four people a day in this country are dying as a direct result of complications from poor air quality and one in five children in Ireland suffer from asthma.  We will be the first country in the EU to extend a nationwide ban of smoky coal and this will save lives.  The final stage of the process involving the residential fuel industry, agencies and the general public is now underway that will ensure a smooth transition to the nationwide ban.”


Odours from Landspreading of Slurry and other Organic Fertilisers
Laois County Council acknowledges that landspreading of agricultural slurries is a normal part of agricultural practices, and that some level of odour can be expected from slurry spreading.  These activities are regulated by the European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 605 of 2017, as amended) and the following link SINo605271217