When it comes to encouraging action on climate change, people cannot be commanded. They must be consulted. As part of the effort to engage with communities, I am leading a national dialogue on climate action, which will help to drive awareness around specific steps that people can take in their daily lives to try to tackle climate change. The dialogue will provide an ongoing opportunity to capture the views and concerns of citizens around the country as we work to achieve the national transition objective. The climate dialogue will build on the work that has already commenced in the Citizens' Assembly and feed into the overall process.
We are in the process of completing the national adaptation framework, which is covered under the annual transition statement. I will shortly submit a final framework to the Government for approval. This will provide a clear strategy to Departments and local government for preparing and implementing adaptation plans and strategies within their own jurisdictions.
One of the main questions facing everyone is how to make a meaningful contribution to this challenge. How can any country, particularly a small one like Ireland, make a practical difference? Small countries do not have the capacity or resources to do everything, but we can do some things well and show an example that others can follow. Small countries face unique challenges, but these also provide opportunities for unique solutions. The Paris Agreement is about every country, great and small, taking action.
Prior to attending COP23 in Bonn, I received approval from the Government to join the NDC Partnership, which allows Ireland and other countries to share our understanding, knowledge, experiences and technologies that we have developed so that member states across the world can benefit and learn from one another about the measures that can be taken.
I am trying to engage with the public in a meaningful way and to connect the global and long-term challenge of climate change with the here and now. One of the main challenges facing us is how to convince people that we need to take steps now that will benefit their children and grandchildren. The difficulty is that people and governments tend to kick the can down the road in that respect.
A practical example of dealing with the challenges here and now in a way that benefits us today as well as the overall climate agenda is the national clean air strategy. That strategy is a fundamental building block for meeting our challenges because it brings the climate issue into every home. Last year, the then Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, said: "Clean energy policies reduce air pollution [...] Human health and the environment both win." This is why I believe that air quality is central to Ireland's energy efficiency programme and overall climate agenda.
In March, Ireland hosted the first clean air dialogue with the European Commission in Dublin to promote actions to improve air quality and contribute to Ireland's implementation of the EU's clean air legislation. Air pollution is not just an environmental or climate problem. It threatens our natural resources, and the one big natural resource that Ireland has is its people, so it threatens their health and well-being. Consider the economic costs of lost work days and health care. Given that air quality is directly associated with an average of four deaths in Ireland every day and one in five children in this country suffers asthma, it must be a priority for the Government.
Our new clean air strategy is already being acted upon. We are doubling the number of air monitoring stations across the country.
We are now in a global project with NASA called Global Learnings and Observations to Benefit the Environment, GLOBE, where we are linking up schools in the vicinity of those particular air monitoring stations with other schools across the globe so we can look at how our air quality is today and benchmark that against the improvements that need to take place. One of the significant steps we are going to take is that within the next 12 months we are going to ban the burning of smoky coal in this country. That will have a significant impact in the short term on air quality but in the longer term as well on climate. Ireland has also taken a lead role in implementing the Kigali Protocol. We were one of the first signatories to give a commitment of funding to work with the developing world to implement the Kigali Protocol. Its objective is reducing global warming by 0.5°C. Including the cooling element of Kigali, which is making air conditioning more efficient, can achieve another 0.5°C. I have already approved laying before both Houses a motion for the adoption of the Kigali Protocol which I hope to have adopted within the coming weeks.
We have all seen the challenges that we have regarding climate across this country. We have seen it with Storm Ophelia and the severe flooding that we have had over the last decade. It is not just about dealing with the future and the challenges of emissions but also how do we adapt to the changes that have already happened. We are working with local authorities on that. My colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Moran, has been doing a lot of work on flood adaptation measures across the country, particularly in the midlands region. I want to commend him for his announcement last week on measures that are going to take place in the Shannon Basin to clean up 18 pinch points within the River Shannon and remove Melick Weir. That is going to have a significant impact on the flooding that we have seen in the Shannon callows in recent years and is going to potentially drop the level of the river between 1 ft and 1.5 ft. We have an awful lot more work to do in terms of adaptation and in addressing the emissions that we are producing on a domestic level and overall as a country.
Transport is one of the challenges. Small countries have unique challenges. We have a particular challenge in Ireland because of the dispersed population. Villages of fewer than 50 people make up 27% of our population. Traditional transport solutions will not work here in Ireland. That is why the national broadband plan is so critically important to reducing overall transport emissions by allowing people to work from their own homes to avoid the need to commute in the first place. By the end of next year, 30% of premises outside our cities will have direct access to pure fibre optic broadband cable. That is going to have a significant impact in transforming the local rural economy but also helping to drive down emissions.
The vast majority of villages across Ireland will have access to pure fibre broadband of up to a 1000 Mbps. I am working with the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Deputy Michael Ring, to see how we can exploit that in two ways. First, by facilitating hot desking in rural communities so people do not have to travel from their own village to local towns or to cities to work. Second, working with the telecommunications companies to see how we can exploit that fibre to connect people up on the last mile through wireless or mobile services.
It is also about using technology differently. By 2024, everybody in this country will have a smart electricity meter. That is going to drive energy efficiency. It will allow for real-time pricing and encourage people to become far more energy efficient in their electricity use. The action plan for jobs that will be published next year intends to focus on enabling the environment for business and innovators to take increasing investment opportunities that are being presented in the low carbon climate resilient transition.
The roll-out of broadband and the use of smart meters across the country provides for new innovative solutions. We now have two Internet of Things networks across this country and we are already seeing companies like VogueTek in County Meath exploiting that to provide adaptation services here in the city of Dublin where they are now using the Internet of Things to communicate potential gully blockages to Dublin City Council so they can be averted and addressed before heavy rains arrive.
In 2016 we also saw an increase of 4.4% in the use of public transport services. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, will deal with that in more detail and talk about the expansion of the Luas green line, increasing the capacity and the usage of that public transport service in reducing the amount of vehicles coming into the city of Dublin.
However, it is not just about the domestic level. Ireland is very much involved at an international level. We held the International Plant Protection Convention, IPPC, seminar in Dublin earlier this year on agriculture and the land use working group. That report will be completed in 2019. It will be significant from an Irish perspective because agriculture plays such a key part in our overall emissions and in the emissions trajectory that we have to meet. The work that we are doing should be acknowledged. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, will outline to the House the work that is being done on the beef data genomics scheme, one of the most innovative climate measures that has been taken in the agricultural sector at a global level. We have now genotyped 1 million beef-producing animals in this country. There is no database of its type anywhere in the world. It allows us to be at the cutting edge of developing new flexible solutions in that area. During the Congress of the Parties, COP23, negotiations in Bonn two weeks ago Ireland contributed and was very much to the fore in breakthroughs in the development of guidance for the agricultural sector but also in the adoption of a gender action plan. It is important that we not just look at the measures that we can take here in Ireland but work with other countries on a global scale to deal with these challenges because we cannot deal with many of them in isolation.
We are doubling the funding that is going to be available next year for the roll out of electric vehicles, not just in terms of continuing the grant support that is there. We are now zero rating benefit-in-kind for electric vehicles for the next three years. We are running a number of initiatives with the public and private sectors to convert from traditional fossil fuel to electric vehicles. We are going to run roadshows around the country to get people to try out an electric vehicle. I had the opportunity recently to test drive the Renault Zoe over ten days. I encourage people, especially at this time of the year, to test drive the vehicles before they purchase a new or replacement vehicle. Next year we are going to extend the grant aid for electricity connection for charging in domestic homes from just new vehicles to second-hand vehicles. That would allow for imports but also provide a floor for the sale of second-hand electric vehicles which is important for people looking to purchase an electric vehicle.
We took the decision during the summer to encourage the segregation of waste and encourage people to produce less waste by abolishing the flat-rate charging regime that is being implemented across the country. Approximately 50% of kerb-side collections are already based on some type of usage system. The more one uses such a service, the more one pays. The other 50% will transition to this system over the next 14 months, which will reduce significantly the amount of waste being generated in the first place and also encourage people to segregate.
We have taken the decision to roll out brown bins to every single community with a population greater than 500. Yesterday, we informed the waste industry that it is our intention to roll out brown bins to every single home that wants one. Again, this encourages people to segregate waste so we can use the organic waste for composting and the generation of biogas. I will be bringing a memorandum to the Government next week on the renewable heat incentive scheme, which will support the development of the biogas industry in the country. We will be able to utilise the waste being generated from brown bins while encouraging people not to generate waste in the first instance. As Members know, we had a campaign earlier this year specifically asking people to think about what they were dumping by way of food waste and about how they could reduce the volume. The removal of flat-rate bin charges will encourage people to think far more deeply about the amount of waste they are generating in the first instance.
We have made progress on the forestry side. This will probably be addressed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when he comes to the House. The drainage system for forestry very much compounded heavy flooding after very heavy rainfall. The design of the new drainage systems for forestry will address and reduce the amount of flooding.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently completing the public spending code to integrate climate policy into all future decisions on public expenditure that the Government will take. This will very much form part of the overall capital plan that the Government hopes to announce quite soon. The capital plan will integrate climate policy into the overall plan and measures over the next decade.
The national planning framework is being completed. It is very much about getting people back into main streets across the country and utilising existing infrastructure. In Georgian Limerick, for example, there is a population of approximately 1,000 although the wider catchment population of the city of Limerick is approximately 90,000. We are trying to rejuvenate our cities, towns and villages where the infrastructure is already in place, thus reducing the need for people to travel and commute. We have taken a decision this year that all new cars and vans sold in Ireland from 2030 will have zero emissions or be zero-emission capable.
We are examining the impact of wetlands on both mitigation and adaptation. We are working with Bord na Móna to consider how we can reflood many of the cutaway bogs across the country. Work is under way on many of these initiatives. Admittedly, it is a challenge and we have a long way to go. Every single person can make a contribution and the Government must provide the leadership in this regard. It is important that we bring people with us. That is why the dialogue is so fundamental in creating the awareness, engagement and motivation to act and build on the work that has already been started by the Citizens' Assembly. We must build on the work we have done through the Green Flag programme in schools across the country. Some 98% of schools are now involved. The Green Schools National Climate Change Action and Awareness Programme is being rolled out across the country. We have also launched the climate change ambassadors programme so we will have individuals and communities across the country talking about the real and practical impact of climate change in those communities and how individuals and communities can take steps to improve their quality of life, improve air quality and meet our long-term goals on climate. I look forward to the input of Members.