Waste Management Expenditure

Question No. 37 answered with Question No. 32.

Questions (36)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

36. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the increase in funding in budget 2014 of 19% for the environment and waste management, how this funding will be used; and the reason for the cut in the landfill levy by 21%. [44813/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Overall Exchequer capital and current funding for environmental and waste management programmes is being increased by 19% from €29.25m in 2013 to €34.67m in 2014. In terms of how this funding will be used, a full breakdown of the multi-annual capital investment framework provided for under Budget 2014, by ministerial Group, is set out in the Expenditure Report for 2014. This Report, which provides a breakdown of the capital allocations by programme heading, including environmental and waste management programmes, on page 184, was published on 16 October by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and can be accessed at: http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2014/Documents/Expenditure%20Report%202014.pdf. In particular, additional capital provision is being made in respect to landfill remediation.

There has been no cut to the landfill levy. Proceeds from the levy are paid into the Environment Fund and the total estimated revenue to be received from the levy in 2014 is €39.9 million; this represents a decrease of 21% on the estimated income for 2013. However, it is important to note that t he landfill levy is chargeable on waste presented for disposal at landfill facilities. It is intended, primarily, to act as an economic instrument to encourage more sustainable management of our waste by diverting it away from landfill. The decrease in income from the levy indicates that the instrument continues to be effective in decreasing the amount of residual waste consigned to landfill.

Question No. 37 answered with Question No. 32.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 15.

Questions (38)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

38. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he plans to change the climate change policy in view of the recent International Panel on Climate Change report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44873/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 384 of 8 October 2013. As stated in that reply, the report of the Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change has been developed and published in an international context and has no specific implications that are unique to Ireland. Through the EU, Ireland is contributing constructively to the on-going negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, aimed at finding agreement on a new global climate treaty in 2015. Our contribution is strengthened by the steps we are taking to develop progressive national policy and legislation.

In this regard, I published a Programme for the Development of National Climate Policy and Legislation in January 2012. The Programme sets out specific milestones over a two-year period planned to culminate in Government adopting a national policy position on transition to a low-carbon future and finalising the introduction of climate legislation early in 2014.

Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 15.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Questions (40)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

40. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his response to the ongoing housing crisis, particularly in Dublin; and if he will be undertaking to recommence investment in building new housing units across the country to address the crisis. [39146/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government's housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. I am determined to ensure that the social housing programme optimises the delivery of social housing and the return for the resources invested. To achieve this, it is essential that we continue to tailor the use of available Exchequer supports to prevailing conditions and explore the full range of solutions to address housing needs. The financial parameters within which we continue to operate rule out a return to large capital funded construction programmes. The Government is committed to responding more quickly and on a larger scale to social housing support needs through a variety of mechanisms, including through increased provision of social housing.

In July 2012 I announced details of a three-year funding programme of €100 million to deliver some 800 new units of voluntary and local authority owned social housing. I am monitoring expenditure under my Department's housing programme for 2013, together with the level of contractual commitments extending into 2014, with a view to a decision later this year on approving some limited new construction and house purchases over the period to end 2014. In addition to the €525.8m in housing programme expenditure provided for in my Department's Estimate for 2014, Budget 2014 provides a further €50 million to fund infrastructural investment primarily in the housing area, including €30 million to recommence a State house building programme; €10 million for an unfinished housing estate resolution project; and €10 million for housing adaptation grants. When this is taken into account, funding for housing for next year is effectively maintained at 2013 levels.

Delivery of social housing is significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing, but the Government continues to be committed to other funding mechanisms that will increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms include options to purchase, build to lease and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. In addition, my Department and the Housing Agency are also engaged with NAMA to ensure continued delivery of housing units for social purposes. Approved Housing Bodies will also play a key role in 2014 in the delivery of social housing and in particular in its capacity to attract external financial investment.

In spite of the current challenging circumstances, I expect the final output across all social housing programmes for 2013 to be in the region of 5,000 new housing units, and it is provisionally estimated that in the region of 5,000 units will be provided for social housing in 2014.

Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with the housing authorities. Work continues between central and local government and the voluntary sector to ensure that the considerable monies spent on services for the homeless are effectively and appropriately targeted.

Motor Tax Collection

Questions (41)

Noel Coonan

Question:

41. Deputy Noel Coonan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider allowing persons additional time to tax their machinery and pay any necessary arrears under the new road tax regime, given that many persons will need to get a vehicle registration certificate issued for their machinery, which will take considerable time, and in view of concerns that farmers are suffering distress in getting their paperwork processed on time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40805/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The primary purpose of the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Act 2013 is to replace the system whereby vehicles were declared off the road retrospectively when next being taxed with a procedure under which vehicles must now be declared off the road in advance. The Act provided for a three month transition period from its commencement to allow vehicle owners to bring their motor tax status up to date. The relevant provisions of the Act commenced on 1 July 2013 and, accordingly, are fully in force since 1 October 2013; extensive public notice of the Act's coming into force was given over the period since 1 July.

As precision is needed in taxation measures to provide certainty to those liable to pay the tax, the Act does not allow discretion to extend the deadline.

Leader Programmes Funding

Questions (42)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

42. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when Local Development Companies will be in a position to accept new applications for Leader funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44832/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department is carefully monitoring expenditure and approvals under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. I will assess unallocated funding in early November with a view to reallocating available funding to other qualifying projects, so that all funding will be allocated to qualifying projects before the end of 2013. My Department is currently preparing for the next Programming period 2014-20 which is expected to be operational in 2015.