SMOKELESS ZONES

Brief Outline of the ‘smoky coal’ ban

In the 1990’s legislation was introduced to control the sale of bituminous or “smoky” coal in Ireland. Initally introduced in Dublin, it has over the years been extended to other cities and towns throught Ireland. As a result of recent regulations, there are now over 29 areas where the sale and burning of smoky coal is banned and in 2015 this continues to be extended.

While initially legislation was aimed at measures regulating the sale of bituminous coal in Ireland, this has now been extended to the requirement that all fuel suppliers must be registered with the EPA. In summary:

  • there is a ban on the sale (storing or distributing) of bituminous coal in a growing list of areas throughout Ireland
  • there is a ban on the burning of bituminous coal in these area
  • a ban of the burning of bituminous coal with a sulphur content is not greater than 0.7% operates outside this restricted areas
  • local authorities enforce these regulations, overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • All fuel suppliers must be registered on the EPA’s Fuel Register
  • All fuel suppliers must hold a tax clearance certificate to be added to the Fuel Register

Below you will find details as to the history of the legislation to date and maps of each of the areas.

History– an outline of the development of the legislation

Current Legislation – what are the details of the ban at present

Fuel Register – details of new fuel register and supplier tax requirements

Smoky Coal Ban Areas – Maps and details of the specified areas where the ban is in place.

HISTORY

There has always been a tradition of burning coal in Ireland. We even mined coal in Ireland, in the not too distant past. And the person who delivered our fuel to our door, has long been called the “coal man”. However due to the increase in concerns for health risks and air quality issues from “winter smog” (smoke and sulphur dioxide emissions)in the 1980’s, the Department of Environment introduced legislation to control the sale and supply of ‘smokey’ coal.

Initially, legislation was introduced Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Marketing, Sale and Distribution of Fuels), which came into effect in 1990, with a ban on the sale and supply of bituminous fuels in the Dublin area. Due to it’s effectiveness in reducing sulphur dioxide levels, this ban was extended to include Cork city and some surrounding areas of the county in 1995. Five more urban areas were added in 1998 – Arklow, Drogheda, Dundalk, Limerick and Wexford. Further extension of the ban was made in 2000 to include Celbridge, Galway, Leixlip, Naas and Waterford. In 2003 Bray, Kilkenny, Sligo and Tralee were also included. (A link to the original regulations is here).

In 2002, the Department and the Solid Fuel Trade Group Ltd. signed a negotiated agreement (copy available here) to reduce the sulphur content of all bituminous coal and petcoke and also provided for the extension of the ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of solid fuels. The agreement was the culmination of a consultation process commenced in 2001 on foot of the Public Consultation Paper “Potential National Ban on Bituminous Coal and Petcoke” (Copy available here). A phased introduction of the ban was made in Athlone, Carlow, Clonmel and Ennis under this agreement up to a level of 75%.

In April 2006, the Department and the Solid Fuel Trade Group Ltd. signed a second negotiated agreement concerning further reductions in the sulphur emissions of bituminous coal and petcoke and the maintenance of existing limitations through smokeless zones on the marketing, sale and distribution of solid fuels. (Copy available here).

The latest agreement between the Department and the Solid Fuel Trade Group Ltd which was signed on 8 October, 2008 and ran until July 2011, continues to build on the significant environmental gains achieved by the previous agreements. (Copy available SFTG-Agreement-2008-2011here).
New legislation was introduced in 2011, Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Marketing, Sale and Distribution of Fuels) (Amendment) Regulations 2011, (External link to the legislation here) which has given a statutory basis for the agreements to date, as well as extending the the ban to Athlone, Carlow, Clonmel and Ennis with effect from August 1st 2011. Included in this legislation is a provision to limit the maximum sulphur content of bituminous coal to no greater than 0.7%. Also during 2011, the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 was enacted to increase the penalties for breach of the regulations. Now there is a maximum fine of € 5,000 on summary conviction, and also fixed payment notices or “on the spot fines” of € 1,000 for breaches of the regulations. (External link to the legislation here). A recent amendment in the Air Pollution Act (Marketing, sale, distribution and burning of specified fuels) Regulations 2015, has made some additional changes, which came into effect on June 1st 2015. Firstly, there seems to have been an anomally whereby Public Houses in specified areas were not covered by the ban, and these are now included. Secondly, Maynooth has been added to the specified area of Cellbridge and Leixlip. Thirdly there has been a change to the specified area of Wexford.

The regulations are enforced by local authorities for each of the areas covered, and additionally the EPA has been given the role of overseeing the enforcement of regulations with new legislation requiring the registration of coal baggers and suppliers. (Details of the register can be found here.)

A public consultation has taken place and a discussion document entitled Delivering Cleaner Air was published by the Department of Environment. (It can be viewed here.) Seperately and as members of the Solid Fuel Trade Group (SFTG) we submitted suggestions to this consulation, which it appears have not been taken on board, in particular in relation to the Registration of Coal Suppliers. We would have liked for the Revenue Commissioners to take on the responsibility for this, and while it has not happend as yet, we hope that it will happen in the not too distant future.

As a result of this discussion document, the Minister announced in 2012 that new regulations would be put in place for the coming winter.(You can view the details here.) The main points were:

  • Existing boundaries in restricted areas would be extended to take account of recent developments, based on the 2011 Census data;
  • The ban would be extended to all of County Dublin;
  • Seven new towns are included from May 2013 – these are Greystones, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Navan, Newbridge, Portlaoise and Wicklow Town and Rathnew;
  • A prohibition on the burning of bituminous coal in restricted areas.

In September 2015, on the 25th anniversary of the initial ban, the Minister announced plans to extend the ban on smoky coal nationwide. The Minister expects that a process of consultation with the EU, government colleagues and coal suppliers will take place and that the ban is expected to take effect for  the 2018 heating season.

CURRENT LEGISLATION

These new regulations have been published as Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels) Regulations 2012, and can be viewed here. As a result of this legislation and proceeding legislation, there is now

  • a ban on the marketing, sale, and distribution of smoky coal within certain specified areas, for which maps have been drafted;

“Section 5. (1) A person or body shall not place on the market, sell or distribute any

specified fuel within a specified area.

(2) A person or body shall not place on the market, sell or distribute, within

a specified area, any solid fuel in a bag unless—

(a) it is sealed,

(b) there is printed on such bag a notice in the form set out” as follows:

                “In letters at least 2 centimetres high and in a form which is clearly legible—

(i) the name and address of the person who packed the bag, and

(ii) “SMOKELESS FUEL — Contents comply with the Air Pollution Act

Regulations”.

“(c) such a person or body holds a record showing that the bagged product

is not a specified fuel.

(3) A person or body may store specified fuel at a premises located within a

specified area for the purpose of placing on the market or sale at an address

outside the specified area provided that a register is maintained in the form set

out in Schedule 4 to these Regulations.

(4) A person or body may transport specified fuel within a specified area

provided—

(a) that such fuels are so transported on or in a vehicle in a total quantity

of not less than 3 metric tonnes in weight at any one time in the case

of the specified area of Dublin and not less than 1 metric tonne in

weight at any one time in the case of any other specified area, and

     (b) that such vehicle is not being used at the same time within that specified

area for the sale or distribution of any other fuels.

(5) The owner of any vehicle which is used for the transport of specified fuel

within a specified area shall retain on the vehicle—

      (a) a record of the quantity of each type of specified fuel on the vehicle

and the name and address of the person or body who supplied the

fuel, and

     (b) a record of the destination or destinations of the specified fuel and

the name and address of the person or persons purchasing the fuel.”

  • a ban on the burning of smoky coal within the specified areas:

“Section 6. The occupier of any private dwelling located within a specified area shall

not burn at such private dwelling any specified fuel.”

  • a ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal outside these specified areas unless it meets the following criteria:

“(a) its sulphur content is not greater than 0.7% by weight,

(b) the product was bagged by a bagging operator registered with the

Agency,

(c) where the unit of sale is a bag, it is sealed, and

(d) such a person or body holds a current record setting out, inter alia,

the registration number issued by the Agency to the bagging operator

who supplied the product verifying that the product is compliant with

Regulation 5(a) and (b).” (Section 7 of the Air Pollution Act Regulations 2012).

  • a requirement for all bagging operators (defined as a person or body who bags coal for residential supply) who supply bituminous coal to consumers to register with the EPA annually,
  • a requirement for all fuel suppliers who supply bituminous coal for residential use to register every two years
  • a register kept of all fuel stored within a specified area, and a record kept of any stock movements.
  • 18 towns/cities covered by this legislation with effect from 31st August 2012 and a further 7 towns will be covered with effect from May 1st 2013.

These new regulations are to be enforced by the local authority responsible for each area. On the spot fines of € 1,000, and a maximum of € 5,000 for summary conviction can apply.

FUEL REGISTER

In 2015, a new act was published, and under Part 4 of the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 the Fuel Register is extended to include to all fuel suppliers, so now all fuel suppliers who sell, market, distribute, store, treat, or produce fuel of any type must register with the EPA. To register, each fuel supplier must provide:

  • name, address and details of their ‘fuel activity’ – be it sale, storage or distribution
  • details of the area in which they normally operate
  • a current tax clearance certificate

Once registered, the EPA issues a registration number. The fuel supplier must keep records of fuels stored, and of any stock movements. All local authorities continue to enforce the regulations, and suppliers premises and vehicles can be subject to search and inspection to ensure compliance. Fixed payment notices or ‘on the spot’ fines can be issued if an offence is found to have occured, these range from

  • €250 if there are no details of the registration number of the fuel supplier are not known or recorded, or no records of the quantity of fuel being supplied and to whom its being supplied
  • €500 where the bag of fuel is not sealed, or no notice that the fuel complies with the regulation, or where fuels not permitted for supply are being carried with fuels that are allowed, within the specificed area
  • €1000 where fuel prohibited for sale (supply or distribution) is found.

If fines are paid within 21 days, then no prosecution shall take place.

SMOKY COAL BAN SPECIFIED AREAS:

The following are the areas in the Republic of Ireland where the sale and burning of smoky coal is banned:

(Please click on an area for a map and a more detailed description of the townlands, etc. where sales, distribution marketing and burning are restricted):

The Department of Environment have now published maps for each of the areas covered by this legislation, and the page containing a list of these maps is available here.

Below is a map showing the areas affected throughout Ireland. We expect this map to be updated to reflect the 2015 amendments shortly.

BanAreas2012National Map of Specified Areas 2012

Picture from Department of Environment. View Larger picture in pdf format.

 

SPECIFIED AREAS OF DUBLIN:

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SPECIFIED AREA OF BRAY:  View mapbraylrg

The town of Bray and its environs in the county of Wicklow, comprising the following areas:-

  • The Electoral Divisions of-

Bray No.1                                      Bray No. 2                        Bray No. 3              Rathmichael

  • In the Electoral Division of Kilmacanoge, the townlands of:-

Ballymorris                                   Ballynamuddagh           Ballywaltrin

Bray Commons                           Fassaroe                        Giltspur

Hollybrook                                    Irishtown                         Kilbride

Kilcroney                                      Killarney                           Kilruddery Demesne East

Kilruddery Demesne West      Oldcourt                            Springfield

Wingfield

 

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF CORK: View mapcorkmap

  • The city of Cork together with the included areas in the county of Cork.
  • The included areas in the county of Cork are:—

The Electoral Divisions of:—

Ballincollig                Bishopstown           Blarney         Caherlag       Carrigaline (Cork Rural) Carrigrohane Beg   Douglas                   Inishkenny    Lehenagh     Monkstown Rural  Monkstown Urban   Ovens                       Rathcooney           St. Mary’s

In the Electoral Division of Ballygorman, the townlands of:-

Grange       Killumney

In the Electoral Division of Carrigtohill, the townlands of:-

Ballycurreen        Killacloyne          Killahora            Johnstown

In the Electoral Division of Carrigaline (Kinsale Rural), the townlands of:-

Commeen            Kilnaglery

In the Electoral Division of Kilpatrick, the townland of Knocknalurgan.

In the Electoral Division of Liscleary, the townlands of:-

Ballea              Kilmoney

In the Electoral Division of Matehy, the townlands of:-

Cloghphilip                  Cloghroe               Coolflugh

Dromin                          Killeen                   Loughane East

In the Electoral Division of Riverstown, the townlands of:-

Hermitage                  Killacloyne                    Killydonoghoe

Riverstown                 Sarsfieldscourt            Templeusque

In the Electoral Division of Whitechurch, the townlands of:-

Carhoo                       Coolowen               Kilcronan

Monard                       Rathpeacon

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF LIMERICK: View maplimerickmap

  • The city of Limerick together with the included areas in the county of Limerick and the included areas in the county of Clare.
  • The included areas in the county of Limerick are:-

The Electoral Divisions of:-

Ballycummin                       Limerick South Rural

  • In the Electoral Division of Ballysimon, the townlands of:-

Ballybrennan                    Ballysimon                Ballysimon (Dickson)     Ballysimon (Staunton) Ballysimon Commons   Coolyhenan              Drombanny                       Dromroe           Garryglass                        Kilbane                      Killonan                             Knockananty

Milltown                             Newcastle                 Newtown                           Peafield               Sreelane                           Towlerton

In the Electoral Division of Ballyvarra, the townlands of:-

Ballyclogh                         Casteltroy                 Garraun                              Garraunykee            Rivers                                Woodstown

In the Electoral Division of Roxborough, the townlands of:-

Bohereen                         Ballyclogh                 Ballysheedy West            Derrybeg    Derryknockane                Rathurd                     Rootiagh                           Routagh          Roxborough

The included areas in the county of Clare are:-

The Electoral Division of Ballyglass.

In the Electoral Division of Cappavilla, the townlands of:-

Clooncarhy                    Derryfada                   Garraun                              Gillogue Strawickeen

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF ARKLOW: View maparklowlrg

  • The town of Arklow and its environs in the county of Wicklow, comprising the

following areas:-

  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Arklow No.1 Urban                          Arklow No.2 Urban

  • In the Electoral Division of Kilbride, the townlands of:-

Coolboy                    Kilbride                   Killiniskyduff            Seabank

  • In the Electoral Division of Arklow Rural, the townlands of:-

Ballyraine Lower                 Ballyraine Middle                      Ballyraine Upper

Money Little

 

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SPECIFIED AREA OF DROGHEDA: View mapdroghedamap

  • The borough of Drogheda and its environs in the county of Louth and the

county of Meath, comprising the following areas:-

  • In the county of Louth:-

The Electoral Divisions of-

Fair Gate                     St. Laurence Gate                  St. Mary’s  St. Peter’s     West Gate

  • In the county of Meath:-

The Electoral Division of St. Mary’s.

In the Electoral Division of Julianstown, the following townlands:-

Betaghstown                  Ministown                     Ninch

Pilltown                           Sevitsland

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SPECIFIED AREA OF DUNDALK: View mapdundalkmap

  • The town of Dundalk and its environs in the county of Louth, comprising the

following areas:-

  • The Electoral Divisions of-

Dundalk Urban No.1                Dundalk Urban No.2              Dundalk Urban No.3

Dundalk Urban No.4                Dundalk Rural                         Haggardstown

  • In the electoral Division of Castletown, the townlands of:-

Acarreagh              Balregan                 Castletown      Donaghmore       Farrandreg Newtownbalregan    Stranacarry        Tankardsrock  Tateetra                Thomastown

SPECIFIED AREAS OF WEXFORD: View Mapwexford

  • The borough of Wexford and its environs in the county of Wexford, comprising the following areas:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Wexford No.1             Urban Wexford No.2                 Urban Wexford No.3                                Urban Wexford Rural

  • In the Electoral Division of Ardcavan, the townlands of:-

Ardcavan           Ardcolm                  Ballycrane             Ballymartin        Ballytramon    Ballywish           Burgess                  Castlebridge         Craanagam        Craanatore    Crosstown         Ferrybank North    Ferrybank South   Glasganny          Glebe      Kilmisten           Knottown               Oldtown                 Pollregan           Tincone

  • In the Electoral Division of Artamon, the townlands of:—

Ballyboggan Lower                Ballyboggan Upper                Ballyregan (Fairyhill)

  • In the Electoral Division of Carrick, the townland of Newtown.
  • In the Electoral Division of Drinagh, the townlands of:—

Blackhorse               Drinagh North            Drinagh South         Kellystown        Rochestown             Roughmead                Sinnotstown            Starvehall           Whitestown Lower               Whitestown Upper

  • In the Electoral Division of Rathaspick, the townland of Moorfields.

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF CELBRIDGE, MAYNOOTH AND LEIXLIP: View MapMap of Maynooth Celbridge Leixlip

  • The towns of Celbridge, Maynooth and Leixlip and their environs in the county of Kildare, comprising the following areas:-
  • The Electoral Division of Celbridge.
  • The Electoral Division of Leixlip.
  • The Electoral Division of Maynooth.
  • In the Electoral Division of Donaghcumper, the townlands of:-

Backweston Park           Ballymadeer                   Ballyoulster        Balscott                             Celbridge Abbey            Commons Lower          Commons          Commons Upper              Coneyburrow                  Coolfitch                          Dangan               Donaghcumper Elmhall                            Loughlinstown               Newtown      Simmonstown                               St Wolstans                    Stacumny                        Stacumny Cottage          Straleek

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF GALWAY: View mapgalwaymap

  • The city of Galway together with the included areas in the county of Galway.
  • The included areas in the county of Galway are:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Ballintemple                 Barna                            Carrowbrowne

Galway Rural

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF NAAS and SALLINS: View mapnaassallinsmap

  • The towns of Naas and Sallins and their environs in the county of Kildare, comprising the following areas:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Naas Urban                 Naas Rural

  • In the Electoral Division of Bodenstown, the townlands of:-

Bodenstown             Castlesize               Sallins

  • In the Electoral Division of Kill, the townlands of:-
  • Johnstown Kerdiffstown Palmerstown

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF WATERFORD: View Mapwaterfordmap

  • The city of Waterford together with the included areas in the county of Waterford and the included areas in the county of Kilkenny.
  • The included areas in the county of Waterford are:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Ballynakill                           Killoteran                        Kilbarry

  • In the Electoral Division of Faithlegg, the townland of Ballygunnertemple.
  • In the Electoral Division of Tramore, the townland of Knockeen.
  • The included areas in the county of Kilkenny are:-
  • The Electoral Division of Kilculliheen.
  • In the Electoral Division of Aglish, the townlands of:-

Ballygriffin                        Granny

  • In the Electoral Division of Dunkitt, the townlands of:-

Ballynamona                  Blossomhill                   Cloone         Dunkitt                            Killaspy Mullinabro                       Strangsmill

  • In the Electoral Division of Rathpatrick, the townlands of:-

Kilmurry                           Luffany                           Rathpatrick

 

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF KILKENNY:View mapkilkennymap

  • The borough of Kilkenny and its environs in the county of Kilkenny, comprising the following areas:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Kilkenny No.1                        Urban Kilkenny No.2                 Urban Kilkenny Rural

  • In the Electoral Division of Dunmore, the townlands of:-

Baun                                          Loughmerans

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SPECIFIED AREA OF SLIGO:View mapsligomap

  • The borough of Sligo and its environs in the county of Sligo, comprising the following areas:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Sligo East                                 Sligo North                      Sligo West

  • In the Electoral Division of Calry, the townlands of:-

Ballytivnan                                Barroe                              Carns

Carns (Duke)                          Cleaveragh Demesne   Farranacardy

Hazelwood Demesne           Kiltycahill                          Rathbraghan

Tonaphubble

  • In the Electoral Division of Drumcliff East, the townlands of:-

Ballinvoher                              Lisnalurg                         Shannon Eighter

Shannon Oughter                 Teesan

  • In the Electoral Division of Drumcliff West, the townland of Ballincar.
  • In the Electoral Division of Kilmacowen, the townlands of:-

Ballydoogan                          Ballyfree                             Carrowroe

Derrydarragh                        Tonafortes                          Tullynagracken North

Tullynagracken South

  • In the Electoral Division of Knockaree, the townlands of:-

Barnasrahy                          Cummeen                          Drinaghan

Finisklin                                Knappagh More                Lissawully

Rathonoragh                       Scardan More

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SPECIFIED AREAS OF TRALEE: View maptraleemap

  • The town of Tralee and its environs in the county of Kerry, comprising the following areas:-
  • The Electoral Division of Tralee Urban.
  • That part of the Electoral Division of Tralee Rural that lies north of the L-6515.
  • In the Electoral Division of Ballyseedy, the townlands of:-

Ballingowan                   Caherweesheen                          Camp

  • In the Electoral Division of Blennerville, that part of the townlands of

Curragraigue and Tonavane that lie north of the N86 and L-6515.

  • In the Electoral Division of Clogherbrien, the townlands of:-

Ballyenaghty                Bawnboy                          Clogherbrien

Kerries East

  • In the Electoral Division of Doon, the townlands of:-

Garrane                     Listellick South

  • In the Electoral Division of Ratass, the townlands of:-

Ballinorig South         Ballinorig West                  Ballybeggan

Dromthacker

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SPECIFIED AREA OF ATHLONE: View mapathlonelrg

  • The town of Athlone and its environs in the county of Westmeath and the county of Roscommon, comprising the following areas:-
  • In the county of Westmeath:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Athlone East Urban             Athlone West Urban            Athlone East Rural

Moydrum

  • In the county of Roscommon:-
  • The Electoral Division of Athlone West Rural.

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SPECIFIED AREA OF CARLOW: View mapcarlowlrg

  • The town of Carlow and its environs in the county of Carlow and the county of Laois, comprising the following areas:-
  • In the county of Carlow:-
  • The Electoral Divisions of:-

Carlow Urban             Carlow Rural                     Graigue Urban

Ballinacarrig

  • The included area of the administrative county of Laois is:-
  • The Electoral Division of Graigue Rural.

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SPECIFIED AREA OF CLONMEL:View mapclonmellrg

SPECIFIED AREA OF ENNIS: View mapennismap

SPECIFIED AREA OF LETTERKENNY: View mapletterkennymap

SPECIFIED AREA OF MULLINGAR: View mapmullingarmap

SPECIFIED AREA OF GREYSTONES: View mapgreystones

SPECIFIED AREA OF NAVAN: View mapnavanmap

SPECIFIED AREA OF NEWBRIDGE: View mapnewbridgemap

SPECIFIED AREA OF PORTLAOISE: View mapportlaoisemap

SPECIFIED AREA OF WICKLOW-RATHNEW: View mapwicklowrathnew

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