Crackdown on ‘lawn for sale’ ads to start on Halloween
Illegal turf sales in retail outlets, local newspapers and on online platforms will be punished under the Air Pollution Act 1987 from this winter.
Local authorities will be in charge of enforcing the crackdown, with staff to be trained and a €250,000 fund to be made available for ‘enforcement pilot projects’.
This comes as more than 300 ‘lawn for sale’ ads are currently posted on DoneDeal.ie.
The state’s tighter solid fuel regulations are set to go into effect Oct. 31.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Communication said people with land rights and all other customary land practices “will not be affected” by the new regulations.
“They will continue to be able to cut grass for their own use and will retain the ability to donate or sell grass.
“However, no sales of turf may take place via the internet or other media (i.e. advertising in the local press), or on business premises.”
Asked how the new laws will be monitored and what penalties will be applied, the spokesman said: “Local authorities are and will continue to be responsible for enforcing solid fuel regulations in the State.
“The new enhanced regulations have been drafted to ensure that local authorities have sufficient powers to ensure effective compliance in their functional areas.
“The agenda for the government also includes a commitment to develop a regional approach to air quality enforcement.
“The Department and the Local Government Management Agency are working together on a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the sector and resource requirements to ensure that the most appropriate enforcement structure is put in place to support the implementation implementation of regulations.
“In the meantime, a package of measures is being developed for the local authority sector to support enforcement before October 31.
“This includes new guidance documents and training courses, communication materials and funding of €250,000 to support pilot application projects.
“Enforcement action taken in relation to the Solid Fuel Regulations will be civil offenses and will attract penalties as provided for in the Air Pollution Act 1987.”
Asked if homemade signs advertising turf will also be banned, the spokesperson continued: “The focus on compliance will not be on households or bogs but on the producer and the retail sector to ensure that solid fuels meet specified standards, that unauthorized fuels are not made available for sale and that producers placing the product on the market are properly certified and duly registered with from the EPA.
“By restricting the sale of turf through retail and online channels, the new regulations aim to reduce the sale and supply of turf in large urban areas where turf cutting does not take place, thereby reducing its overall use.
In response, Independent TD and Turf Cutters and Contractors Association President Michael Fitzmaurice said: “I welcome the fact that anyone who owns a bog can cut turf, donate it or sell it; I’m not hooked on internet advertising.
“But I think it’s too early to impose this on city fuel vendors and service stations.
“We are at war right now, and we have to make sure that we keep people warm and that whatever energy assets we have in this country, we use them because we could run out of gas and coal very rapidly.”
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