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Air Pollution


Air Legislation and Regulations


The principal national legislation for the prevention and control of air pollution is the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (No. 6 of 1987). This act provides a comprehensive statutory framework for the control of air quality. Other relevant legislation includes;


Air Quality Standards Regulations of 2011 (replacing Air Quality Standards Regulations of 2002)


Marketing, Sale and Distribution of Fuels Regulations, 1998


Local Authorities are empowered under this legislation to licence certain classes of activities. Activities qualifying for an Air Pollution Licence are as listed in Schedule 3 of the 1987 Air Pollution Act. The main activity requiring this type of licensing is quarrying.

Section 26 of the Air Pollution Act 1987, allows Local Authorities to issue statutory Enforcement Notices requiring “measures to be taken to prevent or limit air pollution”.

Section 24 (2) of the 1987 Air Pollution Act states “The occupier of any premises shall not cause or permit an emission from such premises in such a quantity, or in such a manner, as to be a nuisance”.


 Low Smoke Zone - Letterkenny

Solvent Regulations

Air Complaints

Odours from Landspreading

Air Quality



The Low Smoke Zone (LSZ) - Letterkenny


The use of residential solid fuel is a significant source of air pollution. Letterkenny town and its environs has been added to the list of the "low smoke zones" in the country, a reflection of Letterkenny's increasing size.


The low smoke zone came into effect in May 2013.


The burning of smoky coal inside "low smoke zones" is no longer permitted. Individual householders must take responsibility and play their part in the air we breathe.


There is also a ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of smoky coal to the Letterkenny and environs area since May 2013.


Low Smoke Coal; sold in sealed bags clearly identifying the fuel as being low smoke is permitted. Turf, baled briquettes and wood are also permitted.  


Map of Low Smoke Zone area Letterkenny

The interactive map of Low Smoke Zones, including an eircode search facility to allow the user to determine if a particular premises is covered by the ban, is available at:


Low Smoke Zone information for the Householder


Low Smoke Zone information for the Retailer



For more information contact the Council's Waste Regulations Officer 


Solvent Regulations


Further information can be found here.


Air Complaints


Air complaints, in the main, relayed to Donegal County Council tend to be related to;


  • the nuisance value of odours, (whether from commercial properties or agricultural activities, e.g. landspreading of slurries),
  • smoke from the open burning of wastes (i.e. backyard burning of wastes).
  • dust from quarrying activities
  • burning of wastes


Donegal County Council expressly prohibits the open burning of commercial / domestic waste, and will act to prevent this occurrence when reported. Proper refuse disposal is via appropriate recycling, composting or refuse collection service, or other licensed / permitted waste disposal facility.



Odours from Landspreading


Donegal 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.


All slurry spreading should be carried out in accordance with good practice guidelines as issued by Teagasc, the EPA, and or the Department of Agriculture.



Air Quality in Donegal


Ireland's, and Donegal’s, air quality remains generally good. In this regard we are fortunate to be located on the fringe of Western Europe, with a relatively mild climate and to have an almost continuous movement of clean air over the country The "smog" problem which existed in the 1980s/early 1990s has now been eliminated primarily due to the ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal in certain urban areas. It is now evident that, due mainly to the very significant increase of vehicles on our roads, emissions from the transport sector represent the greatest threat to our air quality.

New and more stringent air quality standards for a number of pollutants have been set by the EU to be achieved by 2005 - 2010 and it is recognised that the standards for PM10 and NOx particularly will be challenging to meet, especially in heavily trafficked urban areas. Recent environmental standards for fuel quality and tighter vehicle emission standards, attained through the introduction and rollout of the National Car Test are interlinked elements of the Government's strategy to reduce transport emissions. These measures will help to ensure that Ireland does attain the requisite standards.

The EPA - Environmental Protection Agency compiles national information on National Air Quality Monitoring, producing an Annual Report on same. More information is available at


The newest data for particulate matter from the Letterkenny station, as of June 2019, can be found here, while data for sulphur dioxide can be found here.

Further information re air quality in general in Ireland is available at (Department of the Environment) and  (Government Environmental Information Service).


There are a number of companies in County Donegal that have been issued with Air Pollution Licences, for the operation of industrial plants, by Donegal County Council.

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