Following an extended period of milder weather we are now, once again, entering the heating season and Donegal County Council is reminding householders in the Letterkenny and environs area that there is a ban on the burning of "Smoky" Coal.

Half a million people in Europe and 1,100 in Ireland suffered premature deaths due to poor air quality in 2015. There are 13,000 people in Donegal alone, suffering from Asthma. In Donegal, particulate matter coming from the burning of solid fuel for home heating is the main cause of poor air quality and it impacts on health through disorders of the heart and lungs. You can make a difference over the winter burning season by using longer lasting low smoke fuels.

We ask that households continue to make cleaner fuel choices by only burning low smoke fuels such as;

Low smoke coal, remember, bags must be clearly labelled low smoke coal,

wood, kindling, fire logs, fire starter logs,

turf or turf products.

It is the obligation of the householder to comply with the smoky coal ban when burning fuel. If as a householder you are unsure which is the best product for you, you should discuss the many different types of low smoke fuels that are available with your local coal merchant.

The other key part of this legislation is that coal retailers and coal merchants are not permitted to market, sell or distribute smoky coal inside the restricted area. Donegal County Council is currently involved in a multi-agency enforcement effort on those involved in the coal retail and merchant sector. Part of these enforcement activities involve checking for compliance, supporting the legitimate operators and taking actions against those who decide to ignore the legislation and cause harm. The work involves the inspection of delivery lorries and premises. New legislation has also made provision for fixed payment notices ranging from €250 - €1,000 to be issued for breaches of the legislation within the coal sector.

It is important to remember that the sole purpose of this law is to deliver cleaner air. It is only through the continued support of householders, coal retailers and merchants that improvements in air quality will continue.

For more information or to report a breach of the law contact Donegal County Council on 074 91 53 900 or visit www.donegalcoco.ie or visit www.environ.ie .

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.