Waste Management Regulations

Questions (238)

Micheál Martin

Question:

238. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the refuse collection services provided by private operators in the Dublin area meet with EU standards, particularly in relation to the collection and disposal of organic and garden waste; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49208/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Environmental standards in relation to the collection of waste, and their enforcement, are the responsibility of local authorities and are governed by the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007 as amended by the Waste Management (Collection Permit) (Amendment) Regulations 2008. The treatment and management of waste material is subject to a registration and permitting system by local authorities or licensing by the Environmental Protection Agency, as appropriate, and is governed by the Waste Management (Facility Permit & Registration) Regulations 2007, as amended or the Waste Management (Licensing) Regulations 2004 to 2011, as appropriate. The primary purpose of the waste facility permitting, registration and licensing system is to facilitate appropriate controls on waste facilities and activities so as to ensure good and consistent waste management practice and the implementation of high standards of environmental protection. In addition, under EU animal by-products legislation, composting and anaerobic digestion plants which process food waste are subject to approval by  the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

My Department’s role is to provide a comprehensive legislative and waste policy framework through which the enforcement authorities operate.  The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, published in July 2012, includes a range of measures to ensure, inter alia , that waste collected in Ireland is managed in accordance with the waste hierarchy as set out in the Waste Framework Directive, whereby prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery are favoured over the disposal of waste. The work of developing new regulatory structures to give effect to the measures set out in the waste policy , including the use of waste such as organics as a resource, has commenced and my Department is engaging with a range of key stakeholders in relation to the detailed design of the new system.

Regulations in relation to food waste arising on commercial premises, the Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations 2009, entered into force in July 2010. These regulations require relevant businesses and public buildings separately to collect all organic food waste to facilitate its diversion from landfill. Household food waste regulations are currently being finalised which will require the separate collection of such material, supporting its diversion from landfill to more productive uses. A comprehensive regulatory impact analysis in relation to the proposed household food waste regulations has been prepared and will be published with the associated regulations. It is my intention that these measures will deliver both enhanced environmental performance and a quality service for consumers.

Domestic Violence Refuges

Questions (239)

Micheál Martin

Question:

239. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that a housing association (details supplied) is unable to provide crisis refuge accommodation for many of the victims of domestic violence seeking support, his plans to increase the provision of family refuge accommodation here; his plans to increase provision of family refuge accommodation here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49209/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department is responsible for providing funding for accommodation and related expenses for homeless persons which in some cases involves the provision of funding towards the operational costs of domestic violence refuges.

Statutory responsibility for policy on developing and providing services aimed at tackling domestic violence rests with the Department of Health and is delivered through the HSE.

Housing authorities have statutory responsibility for homeless accommodation and any proposals for additional accommodation for homeless persons would be a matter for consideration in the first instance by the Management Group of the Regional Joint Homelessness Fora.

Capital funding is available through my Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme to approved voluntary housing bodies to provide accommodation to meet the special housing needs of groups including the elderly, the homeless, persons with disabilities and victims of domestic violence. My Department’s involvement with the scheme relates primarily to the provision of funds for individual projects. The administration of the scheme, including the appraisal of new applications, the management of the planning and procurement stages of projects and the certification that particular projects comply with the terms of the scheme, are the responsibility of the appropriate local authority.

Local Authority Charges Non-Payment

Questions (240)

Seán Kenny

Question:

240. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will list the vacant residential property units in the Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council administrative areas which are vacant due to the non-payment of development levies. [49213/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The information sought in the question is not available in my Department.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (241)

Seán Fleming

Question:

241. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the gross and net additional expenditure savings that his Department is seeking to achieve in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49241/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Information on expenditure provisions for my Department in 2012, and expenditure ceilings for 2013, as published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are set out in the table below. Detailed gross and net expenditure provisions in this regard will be published as part of Budget 2013.

-

Revised Estimates for Public Services 2012 ( €m )

Comprehensive Review of Expenditure /Capital Review Ceilings for

2013 ( €m )

Adjustment (€m)

Gross DECLG Current Expenditure

467

416

- 51

Gross DECLG Capital Expenditure (excl. carryover)

8 61

760

- 1 01

Departmental Bodies

Questions (242)

Niall Collins

Question:

242. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in a tabular form the total list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under his remit; if he will provide a list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under his remit that have been abolished since March 2011 or are scheduled to be abolished and the date on which they are due to be abolished; the date on which the body was created; the name of the body; the 2012 budget for the body; the number of employees of the body in 2012; the names of any outside consultants hired by the organisation since March 2011 and what future plans he has for the body. [49311/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The State Agencies under the aegis of my Department are as follows:

- An Bord Pleanála

- Dublin Docklands Development Authority

- Environmental Protection Agency

- Housing Finance Agency

- Irish Water Safety

- Housing Sustainable Communities Agency

- Local Government Management Agency

- Private Residential Tenancies Board

- Radiological Protection Institute Ireland

- Western Development Commission

Pobal, is a not-for-profit company with charitable status, which manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU.

The Local Government Management Services Board and the Local Government Computer Services Board have merged with the establishment of the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) in August 2012. The LGMA also takes on the residual functions from An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, which has been dissolved as of 1 November 2012.

The Limerick Regeneration Agencies were dissolved on 31 July 2012 and their functions taken over by the Office for Regeneration which has been established in Limerick City. The Regeneration Office has been set up with administrative support from Limerick City Council and reports directly to the new City/County Manager.

The Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency (HSCA) was established in 2012. It rationalises the functions of the National Building Agency (NBA), the Affordable Homes Partnership (AHP) and the Centre for Housing Research (CHR). The AHP and the CHR have been closed down and the NBA ceased operating in June 2011.

Comhar (Sustainable Development Council) was discontinued at the end of 2011 and its sustainable development role has been integrated into the work of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC).

The Dormant Accounts Board will be dissolved by the end of 2012 when the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act, 2012 is commenced.

The operations of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) will be wound up by the end of 2013. This transitional period will allow the Authority to progress elements of ongoing work and to make the necessary preparations for the migration to new arrangements, to be decided by Government.

The agency rationalisation/efficiency agenda will be kept under review, taking account of the Public Service Reform Plan, in so far as other agencies under my Department’s aegis are concerned.

Information on the projected expenditure for Exchequer funded agencies under the aegis of my Department is published in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2012.  The summary table of Exchequer expenditure of non-commercial State agencies shows the provisional outturn for 2011 and the estimated expenditure for 2012.

The staffing levels as of the end of Quarter 3 2012 are as follows:

Establishment

Agency

Quarter 3 Staff Level expressed in Whole Time Equivalents

1977

An Bord Pleanála

146.0

1997

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

14.0

1993

Environmental Protection Agency

313.1

1982

Housing Finance Agency

10.0

1999

Irish Water Safety

6.0

2012

Housing Sustainable Communities Agency

39.97

2012

Local Government Management Agency

101.0

2004

Private Residential Tenancies Board

46.4

1992

Radiological Protection Institute Ireland

41.4

1999

Western Development Commission

12.4

In relation to outside consultants the information requested is being compiled and will be sent to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Unfinished Housing Developments

Questions (243)

Michael Creed

Question:

243. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the course open to residents living in unfinished estates who were unhappy with the national housing development survey 2011 and the exemptions granted therein from a liability for the household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49323/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

As part of the process of preparing the National Housing Development Survey 2011, published by my Department in October 2011, local authorities provided details of all unfinished housing developments in their areas. Unfinished housing developments were divided into four categories as follows:

- Category one, where the development is still being actively completed by the developer, or where no serious public safety issues exist;

- Category two, where a receiver has been appointed;

- Category three, where a receiver has not been appointed and the developer is still in place but effectively inactive; and

- Category four, where the development has been effectively abandoned and is posing serious problems for residents.

Other relevant factors for the purposes of the categorisation process include, inter alia:

- the state of completion of roads, footpaths, public lighting facilities, piped water and sewerage facilities and open spaces or similar amenities within the development;

- the extent to which the development complies with the terms of applicable planning permission;

- the extent to which it complies with the provisions of the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007;

- the provisions of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act 1964 as they pertain to dangerous places and dangerous structures within the meaning of the Act;

- the extent to which facilities within the development have been taken in charge by the local authority concerned and,

- where there is an agreement regarding the maintenance of such facilities, the extent to which this agreement has been complied with. This categorisation formed the basis for the list of those unfinished developments eligible for a waiver on the annual household charge. Only households in developments in categories three and four, as identified in October 2011, are eligible for the waiver from payment of the household charge. The list of developments in which households are eligible for the waiver in 2012 is set out under the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations 2012. It is a matter for the relevant local authority to interpret and apply the relevant provisions. Under the legislation, an owner of a residential property on the liability date of 1 January 2012 is liable to pay the household charge, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. The household charge is on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for an owner of a residential property on the liability date to determine if he/she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the household charge.

Pyrite Remediation Programme Issues

Questions (244)

Clare Daly

Question:

244. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the fact that a company (details supplied) is refusing claims of homeowners with heave-inducing pyrite of a level that they previously accepted based on the Pyrite Panel's categorisation of the amber category; and the steps he will take to address this situation. [49334/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In its report the Pyrite Panel recommended a categorisation of dwellings affected by pyrite to determine the appropriate approach to be adopted in establishing the prioritisation of remediation works. I believe the categorisation methodology recommended by the Pyrite Panel offers a pragmatic and sensible approach to the remediation of pyrite damaged dwellings.

However, the approach recommended in the report refers only to a remediation scheme that would be advanced by a Resolution Board which the Pyrite Panel recommended should be established to deal with pyrite problems where there are no other options available to homeowners for the remediation of their dwellings.

Structural defects warranties/insurance schemes are provided by private companies and operate on the basis of a contractual arrangement between the relevant parties. It is normal for such schemes to have terms and conditions which would set out the parameters of the schemes and how they should be implemented. While I have no function in relation to the operation of such schemes, I believe that the parties involved should live up to their contractual obligations and responsibilities and ensure that dwellings affected by pyrite are remediated in accordance with the terms of the scheme.

Social and Affordable Housing Maintenance

Questions (245)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

245. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the repairs in lieu of rehousing scheme is still in operation and if allocations are being given to the various local authorities around the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49341/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Improvement Works in Lieu (IWIL) scheme allows local authorities to improve or extend privately owned accommodation which is occupied or intended to be occupied by an applicant approved for social housing as an alternative to the provision of social housing.

Under my Department’s Social Housing Investment Programme for 2012 , funding of €6 million was allocated to housing authorities in respect of the IWIL scheme and for the provision of necessary adaptations or extensions to properties to meet the needs of tenants with a disability. It is a matter for each local authority to decide the specific level of funding to be directed to each of these measures out of the allocations provided.

Water Quality Issues

Questions (246)

Damien English

Question:

246. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in tabular form the total number of inspections for taking and testing water samples in 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; the number of compliant inspections; the number of cases brought and the number of convictions as a result of these cases; the total cost of these inspections for each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49362/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The European Communities (Drinking Water) (No. 2) Regulations 2007 assign supervisory powers to the Environmental Protection Agency in respect of public water supplies and assign the responsibility to the water services authorities (the county and city councils) for the monitoring of water supplies within their functional areas. The Regulations prescribe the quality standards to be applied and related supervision and enforcement procedures in relation to supplies of drinking water. The Agency also has responsibility under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 to publish the results of such water testing. The Act requires such reports to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. The most recent drinking water reports produced by the Agency, ‘The Provision and Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland, A Report for the Years 2008 – 2009’ and ‘The Provision and Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland, A Report for the Year 2010’ were published in 2011. These reports set out details on the monitoring results for drinking water quality and enforcement proceedings taken by the Agency. My Department does not receive data on the cost of inspections.

Local Authority Charges Application

Questions (247)

Damien English

Question:

247. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in tabular form the total number of inspections for compliance with plastic bag levy in 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; the number of compliant inspections; the number of cases brought and the number of convictions as a result of these cases; the total cost of these inspections for each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49364/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Environmental enforcement inspections in relation to the plastic bag levy are undertaken by local authorities. While my Department does not collect the data sought in the question, local authorities provide the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with annual data on the total number of environmental inspections carried out, including those relating to the plastic bag levy.

The table below shows the total number of inspections carried out by local authorities in relation to the plastic bag levy for the years 2009 to 2011, as reported by local authorities to the EPA . Figures for 2012 have not yet been published.

Year

Number of PBL Inspections

2009

1,573

2010

800

2011

683

In a recent report published by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office on the Environment Fund Levies ( Report on the Accounts of the Public Services 2011 ), it was recommended that my Department collate and analyse results of inspections in order to assess the adequacy of the inspection regime and the overall level of compliance indicated by it. However, I believe that the overall level of inspections carried out by local authorities is sufficient. As local authorities are the major beneficiaries of the levy, it is in their own best interests to ensure that the levies are collected and enforced effectively. In addition, plastic bag litter statistics indicate that the current level of inspections is effective in delivering the required environmental outcomes. The latest figures available (2011) from the National Litter Pollution Monitoring Body show that plastic bag litter accounts for 0.24% of litter arising. This compares with 5% prior to the levy’s introduction. My Department also monitors per capita usage of leviable plastic bags. Estimates are that prior to the introduction of the levy 328 bags per person were supplied by retailers per annum compared to a level of 18 bags per person per annum in 2010.

In addition to the role of the local authorities in carrying out environmental enforcement inspections, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners is responsible for compliance in relation to the collection of the levy. Such responsibilities include, inter alia, the identification of accountable persons; carrying out verification checks relating to the accuracy of the returns received; and pursuing accountable persons who fail to deliver returns and payments within the statutory time limits.

Public Sector Pensions Expenditure

Questions (248)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

248. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in tabular form the number of public servants in receipt of annual gross public sector pensions of between 0 to 10,000 euro, 10,001 to 20,000 euro, 20,001 to 30,000 euro, 30,001 to 40,000 euro, 40,001 to 50,000 euro, 50,001 to 60,000 euro, 60,001 to 70,000 euro, 70,001 to 80,000 euro, 80,000 to 90,000, 90,000 to 100,000 euro, 100,001 to 110,000 euro, 110,001 to 120,000 euro, 120,001 to 130,000 euro, 130,001 to 140,000 euro, 140,001 to 150,000 euro, 150,001 to 160,000 euro, 160,001 and above; and if these figures include local authorities, vocational educational committees, commercial semi-State companies, non-commercial State agencies and bodies public sector retirees. [49824/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Probation and Welfare Service

Questions (249)

Niall Collins

Question:

249. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm the action being taken in relation to an issue (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49062/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department's Human Resources Division has advised me that no action of the type referred to by the Deputy has been taken.

The Deputy will appreciate that any further comment on this matter would not be appropriate in that it might identify persons to no good purpose.

Departmental Funding

Questions (250)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

250. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of funding that has been given by taxpayers to the National Women's Council for the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49097/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The National Women’s Council of Ireland is the umbrella group for the promotion of women’s rights and women’s equality in Ireland with approximately 160 member organisations. It has received core funding from the State for many years to enable it to assist with the goal of achieving de facto gender equality, which has economic and social benefits as well as being a human rights issue.

The NWCI received funding from a number of Government Departments however I can only account for the funding provided by my Department to the NWCI in the period in question.

In 2008, the NWCI received core funding of €575,000 from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

In 2009 and 2010 respectively, the NWCI received €548,000 from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, although, technically some of this funding in 2010 was paid through the Vote of the then Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. In 2011, the NWCI received €528,000 from the Department of Justice and Equality, again with the first payment coming from the then Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The NWCI's Budget allocation was curtailed in 2012, due to the prevailing economic circumstances and the need to support services rather than advocacy at a time when there were so many pressures on the public purse. Accordingly the NWCI will receive an allocation of €350,000 by the end of the present year.

Visa Applications

Questions (251)

Michael McGrath

Question:

251. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the options open to a person (details supplied) who is here on a holiday visa and who wishes to legally extend their stay here. [49106/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have been advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that it is not the practice to extend a permission to remain to persons admitted on holiday visas for a period of 90 days or less, save in very exceptional and unforeseen circumstances. The reason for this approach is that an extension of visitor's permission should not generally arise in circumstances where the person has accurately and fully disclosed their purpose for intending to come to the State at the visa application stage and/or to an immigration officer at port of entry.

Where exceptional and unforeseen circumstances arise, the person may contact the General Immigration Section of INIS to seek to extend their stay in the State.