Peat briquettes could be included in a ban on smoky fuels from next September if they are found to produce excess pollution, the Environment Minister has indicated in the Dáil.

Eamon Ryan said the Government would have to follow the science on smoky fuels and it must be straight about that.

"I'll be perfectly honest, I'll be looking at the science there to make sure, are we absolutely certain that those peat briquettes, because of the way they are processed, because of they way they burn, are below the 10 micrograms of pollution that is put out into the atmosphere?" he said.

However, a spokesperson for the Minister insisted that it is not envisaged peat briquettes would be banned from September.

They pointed out Bord na Móna has already said that its briquettes will comply with the ten grams per hour emissions rate.

However, they said all briquette producers are likely to be asked for proof to show that they are in compliance with the new regulations.

The Minister was speaking last night on a Dáil motion about the sale and distribution of turf.

He said the Government would introduce regulations in the autumn which would get the balance right.

The Minister stated that most turf would be saved and sold by the end of August so any changes would be a matter for the following year.

However, he said regulations are needed in the autumn for smoky coal in particular.

"We don't want to go through another winter, particularly if it is a cold winter, where people are dying unnecessarily," he said.

The Government is currently in the middle of a consultation process with the European Commission which is examining draft regulations on solid fuels.

"We may have to go back and talk to them again and we will, because we are going to have to amend them. Listening to some of the voices and views here. But we will get that right and we will introduce it in the autumn in a way that allows us get that balance right," the Minister said.