Air Pollution & Quality

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the authority with responsibility for ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland. The Environmental Protection Agency measures the levels of a number of atmospheric pollutants.  More information on monitoring air quality and air pollutants can be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.ie/irelandsenvironment/air/

    Air quality is monitored in Galway City at the Rahoon Road Air Monitoring Station. More information on the station and the records of air quality measured at this station is available at http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/data/rr/.

    Galway City Council has a role in enforcement and licencing of the emission of air pollutants through the Air Pollution Act 1987.

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  • Air Pollution and Climate Change

    Many of the air pollutants listed in the Air Pollution Act 1987 are also greenhouse gases and their emission contribute to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that cause global warming and climate change as well as affecting health and wellbeing.  More information on Ireland’s greenhouse gas emission can be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.ie/ghg/.

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  • Air Pollution Licensing

    Galway City Council Environment Section is the statutory licensing authority under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, (Licensing of Industrial Plant) Regulations, 1988 - 2001 for the administrative area of Galway City Council. The first schedule of these regulations sets out the class of industrial plant which is subject to an Air Pollution Licence. The regulations generally set out the procedures in relation to licensing, appeals, reviews, etc. Galway City Council Environment Section is responsible for the assessment of applications and the enforcement of conditions which may be attached to any licences granted.

    Relevant Legislation:

    • Air Pollution Act, 1987
    • Air Pollution Act, 1987, (Licensing of Industrial Plant) Regulations, 1988
    • Air Pollution Act, 1987, (Licensing of Industrial Plant)(Fees Amendment) Regulations, 2001

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  • Smoky Coal Ban

    The Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations, 2012, designated Galway City and Galway County areas of: Ballintemple, Barna, Carrowbrowne, and Galway Rural as a ‘Smoke Free Zone’. This legislation has introduced a ban on the burning, marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal within these areas of Galway City. It is illegal to burn, sell, market or distribute banned fuels within the restricted area, and it is now only permissible to burn or sell and distribute smokeless coal. Galway City Council has a duty to enforce the regulations, and failure to comply will result in on the spot fines or possible prosecution by Galway City Council under the Air Pollution Act 1987.

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  • Solvents

    Please see the expanded Solvents section of this website.

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  • Petrol Vapour Recovery Requirements

    If you are a Petrol Station owner/operator you are obliged to ensure that your facility is so designed and operated in accordance with the Third Schedule of Air Pollution Act 1987 - Petroleum Vapour Emissions Regulations and the European Union (Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery during Refuelling of Motor Vehicles at Service Stations) Regulations 2011.

    The objective of these regulations is to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the atmosphere from vehicle re-fuelling activities at service stations, in order to reduce the adverse impact of VOC on human health and the environment.

    Petrol contains VOC, carbon-based chemicals that evaporate readily into the atmosphere. Once emitted to air, VOC are associated with several health and environmental problems

    • Formation of ground-level ozone and photochemical smog
    • Poor local air quality (benzene in air)
    • Atmospheric warming and climate change.

    Under these regulations all petrol service stations must have installed a Stage 1 Petrol Vapour Recovery system in place.

    The Regulations also provide that new service stations which meet either of the following two criteria will be required to be equipped with Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery (PVRII) systems to recover Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) during refuelling of vehicles:

  • throughput >100m3 (or 100,000 litres) and situated under living or working quarters
  • throughput >500m3 (or 500,000 litres)

The Regulations also provide that existing service stations are required to install PVRII systems when undergoing their next major refurbishment after 1 January, 2012 if they meet either of the following two criteria:

  • throughput >100m3 (or 100,000 litres) and situated under living or working quarters
  • throughput >500m3 (or 500,000 litres)

In addition, the Directive requires that service stations with a throughput >3,000m3 (or 3,000,000 litres) will be required to install PVRII technology by 31 December, 2018 at the latest (or sooner if undergoing a major refurbishment before that date).

To meet the requirements of the regulations a Service Station owner/operator is obliged to appoint an approved assessor who will carry out tests on their petrol station and submit a report and fee to Galway City Council. If the Council is satisfied with the report it will issue a certificate of compliance with the above act. Certificates of compliance last a maximum of three years, and need renewal on expiry. A copy certificates of compliance must be kept available for inspection at the relevant service station.