Concrete levy good for the environment

Climate crisis and pollutants

Sir, – Criticism by Government backbenchers of the proposed levy on the sale of concrete products to help pay for the enormous cost of poor quality control, mistakes and damage caused by the cement and construction industries is ill-informed (“Government backbenchers raise concerns about concrete levy”, News, September 29th).

The Government’s approach is correct: the industry must pay for its mistakes, otherwise the taxpayer foots the bill.

But even more at issue is the multiple continuing damage to the environment caused by cement production. Huge quantities of fuel are needed to raise the temperature of the limestone and shale mixture to the required 1,400 Celsius in order to produce cement clinker; and the burning of this fuel emits enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere.

To make matters even worse, the limestone, when raised to that high temperature, causes further emissions of carbon dioxide, making the cement industry one of the worst contributors to global warming and climate change and responsible for up to 8 per cent of overall global emissions.


In addition, the cement industry in Ireland uses annually as a co-fuel many hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic, paper and cardboard processed by the waste industry into “refuse-derived fuel”, so that these potentially recyclable materials are lost to the circular economy.

We must not forget that the cement industry is listed under the Stockholm Convention (to which Ireland is a party) as the second worst industry for the production and emission to the atmosphere of dioxins, the most highly toxic and persistent organic pollutants which are now found in plants and animals worldwide. – Yours, etc,



Zero Waste

Alliance Ireland,


Co Westmeath.