Electricity Grid

Questions (573)

John Brassil

Question:

573. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will request from the ESB the reason for the nine power outages for Ballybunion town and surrounding areas since November 2017; if he will further request a resolution to the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9365/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Matters relating to electricity network outages are an operational issue for ESB Networks and the Board and management of ESB and are not ones in which I, as Minister, have any statutory function. I have, however, asked ESB to contact the Deputy directly in relation to the issues raised.

Illegal Dumping

Questions (574, 577, 578, 579)

Gerry Adams

Question:

574. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount allocated to Louth county council for clean up projects to tackle illegal dumping in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [9373/18]

View answer

Gerry Adams

Question:

577. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of convictions for illegal dumping that have taken place by county council area in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [9376/18]

View answer

Gerry Adams

Question:

578. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount that has been allocated to each county council area to tackle illegal dumping in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [9377/18]

View answer

Gerry Adams

Question:

579. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of bogus waste collectors that have been prosecuted by county council area in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [9378/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 574 and 577 to 579, inclusive, together.

Enforcement actions against illegal waste activity are a matter for the Local Authorities and the Office of Environmental Enforcement, OEE, within the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and the Department does not compile statistics in relation to prosecutions taken or fines imposed. Information is available through the Local Government Management Agency’s performance indicators annual reports, available from the publications section of the LGMA’s website http://www.lgma.ie/en/publication-category/service-indicator-reports-2004-2010, and the enforcement section of the EPA’s website http://www.epa.ie/enforcement/prosecute/. The cost of illegal dumping is not collated by my Department as it includes local authority enforcement, disposal and legal costs and also involves costs for other State agencies such as An Garda Síochána.

Illegal dumping is first and foremost a matter of individual responsibility and compliance with the law.  While enforcement action in this area is a matter in the first instance for local authorities, my Department encourages a multi-facetted approach to tackling the problem, incorporating enforcement, public awareness and education and, as such, provides funding to support the activities of the waste enforcement regional lead authorities, WERLAs, of approximately €1 million per annum and of the network of local authority waste enforcement officers of approximately €7.4 million per annum.  Louth County Council receives an annual grant of €130,000 in this regard.

In recognition of the particular difficulties border counties have experienced in dealing with diesel laundering waste dumping, my Department has also fully reimbursed the clean-up costs associated with this nefarious practice with payments of €235,474, €922,518 and €174,906 being made to Louth County Council for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

In addition, my Department has developed an anti-dumping initiative to work in partnership with local authorities and community organisations in identifying high risk or problem areas, developing appropriate enforcement responses and carrying out clean-up operations. The 2017 anti-dumping initiative saw funding of €1.26 million provided, which supported 229 projects across the country.  The allocations provided to each local authority, including Louth County Council, are detailed in the table below. This year, I am increasing the allocation to €2 million to build on the momentum that has now been created and to provide for an increased focus on identifying and prosecuting illegal dumpers. 

County

Total Funding - 2017

Carlow

€40,332.62

Cavan

€68,975.48

Clare

€39,455.00

Cork City

€29,500.00

Cork County

€40,229.15

Dublin City

€20,000.00

Donegal

€68,727.65

DunLaoghaire Rathdown

€19,030.66

Fingal

€16,728.00

Galway City

€44,579.00

Galway County

€67,662.79

Kerry

€41,197.92

Kildare

€35,720.03

Kilkenny

€25,741.49

Laois

€40,691.00

Leitrim

€81,438.34

Limerick

€39,892.79

Longford

€18,892.00

Louth

€44,618.53

Mayo

€29,946.18

Meath

€34,218.70

Monaghan

€40,124.00

Offaly

€40,000.00

Roscommon

€54,659.44

Sligo

€34,034.71

South Dublin

€28,558.73

Tipperary

€53,449.34

Waterford

€29,738.65

Westmeath

€66,360.00

Wexford

€38,191.57

Wicklow

€24,011.60

TOTAL

€1,256,705.37

Environmental Protection Agency Staff

Questions (575)

Gerry Adams

Question:

575. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of enforcement officers that are employed by the Environmental Protection Agency in each county council area in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [9374/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In line with Section 29 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, as amended, it is a matter for the Environmental Protection Agency to determine the appropriate deployment of their approved human resources allocation. As I have no function in the matter, I have referred the question to the agency and asked for a response to be provided directly to the Deputy.  

Illegal Dumping

Questions Nos. 577 to 579, inclusive, answered with Question No. 574.

Questions (576)

Gerry Adams

Question:

576. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of arrests for illegal dumping that have taken place by county council area in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [9375/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department does not compile statistics in relation to prosecutions taken or number of arrests. Enforcement actions against illegal waste activity are a matter for the Local Authorities and the Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Information is available through the Local Government Management Agency’s series of service indicators annual reports available from the publications section of the LGMA’s website http://www.lgma.ie/en/publication-category/service-indicator-reports-2004-2010 and the enforcement section of the EPA’s website http://www.epa.ie/enforcement/prosecute/ . Illegal dumping is first and foremost a matter of individual responsibility and compliance with the law.  While enforcement action in this area is a matter in the first instance for local authorities, the Department encourages a multi-facetted approach to tackling the problem, incorporating enforcement, public awareness and education and, as such, the Department provides funding to support the activities of the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities (WERLAs) of approximately €1 million per annum and of the network of local authority waste enforcement officers of approximately €7.4 million per annum. 

In addition, the Department has developed an Anti-Dumping Initiative to work in partnership with local authorities and community organisations in identifying high risk or problem areas, developing appropriate enforcement responses and carrying out clean-up operations. The 2017 Anti-Dumping Initiative saw funding of €1.26 million provided by the Department which supported 229 projects across the country.  This year, I am increasing the allocation to €2 million to build on the momentum that has now been created and to provide for an increased focus on identifying and prosecuting illegal dumpers. 

Questions Nos. 577 to 579, inclusive, answered with Question No. 574.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (580)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

580. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his Department's capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each of those years. [9514/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department will oversee significant capital investment amounting to €1.479 billion over the five year period to 2022. The 2018 capital allocations by Programme area for my Department are set out in the table below, further detail of which is provided in the 2018 Revised Estimates Volume. Capital Allocation 2018

Programme Area

€ million

Communications

26.8

Broadcasting

2.0

Energy

130.7

Natural Resources

13.7

Inland Fisheries

3.2

Environment and Waste Management

32.6

Total

209.0

Annual capital ceilings in the subsequent years to 2022 have been published in the national development plan and are as follows: 2019 - €256 million; 2020 - €297 million; 2021 - €317 million and 2022 - €400 million.  Detailed programme allocations for these years will be agreed as part of the annual Estimates process and published in the Revised Estimates Volume subsequent to each budget day.

During the five year period, my Department and its agencies will play a lead role in the delivery of a number of the strategic investment priorities identified in the national development plan. A significant expansion of investment in energy efficiency upgrades, including deep retrofitting of housing, commercial and public building stock, will accelerate the contribution of the built environment to the collective effort to reduce CO2 emissions.

Other key energy measures include the roll-out of the support scheme for renewable heat and the electric vehicle grant scheme which are aimed at promoting the electrification of heat and transport, along with increased investment in energy research.

Delivery of the new high speed broadband network under the national broadband plan will ensure that the opportunities presented by the digital transformation are available to every community in Ireland.  Investments will be also be focussed on supporting the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy and protecting our environment, while ensuring the sustainable management of our natural resources.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (581)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

581. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date for the rollout of high speed broadband for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9676/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government's national broadband plan, NBP, aims to ensure high speed broadband access, minimum 30 megabits per second, to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today, almost seven out of ten of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. Since this Government came into office almost 400,000 additional premises have access to high speed broadband. This will increase to nearly eight out of ten premises by the end of this year and by 2020, nine out of ten premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This is being achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention. The premises referred to by the Deputy is in an amber area on my Department’s high speed broadband map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. It is therefore included in the State intervention area under the national broadband plan, NBP.

In April 2017 the map was updated, moving 84,500 premises from the blue to the amber area. This was done because commercial operator plans in those areas had not materialised. The premises referred to by the Deputy was among the number moved from blue to amber.

My Department is in a formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area. That procurement process is now in its final stages.

In the interim, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the mobile phone and broadband taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the broadband officers is continuing to strengthen.  These broadband officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities.  The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure.  There is a link to a list of these local broadband officers on my Department's website.

Project Ireland 2040

Questions (582)

Bríd Smith

Question:

582. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the proposed spend under Project Ireland 2040 for climate action measures from his Department; the specific projects envisioned under climate action in the plan; and the breakdown of funding for these between State and private investment. [9735/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Building on the approach set out in the national mitigation plan which I published in July 2017, Project Ireland 2040 reaffirms the Government’s commitment to transition Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and society.   Exchequer funding of €7.6 billion, together with investment of €13.7 billion by commercial State bodies will ensure a step change in strategic climate change investments in the areas of transport, agriculture, energy and the built environment over the next decade.  A new Climate Action Fund, with an allocation of €500 million, will leverage additional investment by public or private entities in climate action measures. Addressing the climate challenge requires a whole-of-society and whole-of-Government approach.  The radical step change represented by the national development plan will need to be matched with efforts in all sectors, and public expenditure commitments will need to be complemented with taxation measures, regulation, and behavioural change.

During the period of the Plan, key capital investments to be overseen by my Department will comprise some:

- €3.8 billion on upgrading the energy efficiency rating to achieve a minimum of BER Rating B in the existing residential, commercial and public building stock.   Coupled with this, new buildings will be regulated to the highest standards and the roll-out of digital connectivity will facilitate “smart buildings”;

- €1 billion on rolling out energy-efficient heating technologies under the support scheme for renewable heat aimed at large heat users, along with support for heat pumps and roof solar in at least 170,000 homes;

- €0.2 billion to incentivise the uptake of 500,000 electric vehicles by 2030, and provide additional charging infrastructure.  Related support measures include a ban on new non-zero emission cars being sold in Ireland after 2030 and no NCT certificate for non-zero emission cars after 2045.

- €0.1 billion on energy research funding to accelerate diversification away from fossil fuels to green energy.

In addition,  the new renewable electricity support scheme will support the installation by public and private entities of up to 4,500 MW of additional renewable electricity. 

Commercial State owned enterprises under my Department’s aegis will also play a crucial role in climate action initiatives. Major investment projects in excess of €13 billion by inter alia, ESB, EirGrid and Bord na Mona, include the decarbonisation of electricity generation involving the conversion of Moneypoint power station and the peat burning plants to more sustainable low-carbon technologies and the roll out of national smart energy metering programme. Enhanced electricity interconnection and ongoing grid reinforcement will increase energy security and facilitate more variable electricity generation. 

Departmental Budgets

Questions (583)

Bríd Smith

Question:

583. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the budget for climate action since 2016 in his Department; and the specific capital investment programmes that have been funded by his Department or other departments under climate action in each of these years. [9736/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department’s budgetary allocations relating to climate action measures in the period from 2016 to 2018 are set out in the table below.

Programme

2016

2017

2018

Sustainable Energy Programme

69.2m

98.3m

134.1m

Energy Research Programme

10.6m

7.6m

9.3m

Climate Initiatives

1.25m

2.1m

3.9m

Environmental Protection Agency

24.9 m

31.5m

37.4m

The sustainable energy programmes delivered by sustainable energy authority of Ireland support energy efficiency upgrades of residential, commercial and public building stock to accelerate the contribution of the built environment to the collective effort to reduce CO2 emissions.  Funding is also provided for the roll-out of the new support scheme for renewable heat and the electric vehicle grant scheme, further supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

Funding of energy research aims to support diversification away from fossil fuels to green energy, in turn facilitating the progressive decarbonisation of electricity generation.  In the area of climate initiatives, technical research and modelling informs mitigation and adaptation policy formulation, while the new regional climate offices will support implementation of sectoral adaptation measures.  Funding for the national dialogue on climate action aims to build citizen engagement to bring about the requisite societal transformation to address the challenges presented by climate change. 

My Department also provides ongoing funding to the Environmental Protection Agency to allow it meet its legislative mandate and deliver its research commitments, in areas such as ambient air quality as well as the broader climate change agenda.  

Within the framework of the Government's national mitigation plan, decisions relating to particular measures or investment programmes remain a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant sectoral Minister, while funding decisions will continue to be a matter for Government consideration in the context of expenditure planning in the Estimates and Budgetary processes.

The 2017 annual transition statement, which I laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 8 December last, provides an overview of cross-Government climate change mitigation and adaptation measures relating to the key sectoral areas of electricity generation, built environment, transport as well as the agriculture, forestry and land use.  It outlines the objective for each measure, estimated mitigation potential and funding information, where available. The transition statement can be accessed at the following link: http://opac.oireachtas.ie/AWData/Library3/DCCAEdoclaid081217_154934.pdf

EU Regulations

Questions (584)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

584. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the options being considered to introduce an exemption for the entertainment industry from the proposed ban on tungsten bulbs from 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9943/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

This matter relates to Ecodesign which is the responsibility of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  I understand, however that the European Commission is working on a single lighting regulation under the Ecodesign Directive framework, intended to substitute the existing Ecodesign Lighting Regulations 244/2009,245/2009 and 1194/2012. An initial draft working document of the new proposal was circulated to stakeholders in November 2017. The regulatory process to develop and improve this proposal is ongoing and involves significant stakeholder consultation. Exemptions for several specialist lighting applications, including stage/theatre lighting, and how best to define these exemptions without creating loopholes to the regulation are being considered as part of this process. It is expected that the regulation will be adopted by the EU Commission towards the end of 2018.  Any further queries on the proposal should be directed to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

National Broadband Plan Data

Questions (585)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

585. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of premises contained within the commitment contract for the 300,000 premises, which had completed the detailed design milestone as of 31 December 2017, by FTTH and VDSL technology and other technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10038/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In April 2017, I signed a Commitment Agreement with eir in relation to its plans to provide high speed broadband to 300,000 premises in rural areas on a commercial basis. eir has committed to completing the rollout by the end of this year. Information on eir's planned rural deployment is available at http://fibrerollout.ie/eircode-lookup/ . A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie. Quarterly updates on eir's rural deployment are published on this website. eir has passed a total of 121,000 premises as of 31 December 2017.

Officials from my Department meet with eir on a monthly basis to review the company’s performance on the on going rollout by a number of sub-milestones. One of these sub-milestones is the number of premises for which a detailed design has been completed. As of 31 December 2017 eir had completed detailed designs for over 197,000 premises.

Of these premises at detailed design stage, in line with the terms of the commitment agreement, there is a ratio of at least 90% FTTH and 10% VDSL. The actual percentage served by FTTH, however, may exceed the 90%. eir has indicated to my Department that of the 121,000 premises passed to 31 December 2017, 96% are served using FTTH and 4% using VDSL.