Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (71)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

71. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans, timeline and targets to meet the terms of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51854/18]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment is responsible for the overall coordination by Government of mitigation planning in the area of climate change and my Department will play its part in supporting the plans, initiatives and targets set out by my colleague, Minister Bruton, in this regard.

While my Department does not have a direct role in relation to climate action targets, we are actively participating on a number of levels in the structures that have been put in place by Government on this issue and are keen to contribute to the overall national effort on climate action.

Supporting the development of resilient and sustainable communities is at the heart of my Department's mission and as part of that we are working with local communities to help Ireland's transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society through the wide range of programmes, supports and initiatives we deliver.

These include the LEADER programme's Rural Environment theme, which will see almost €24million invested in projects during the period to 2020 under the sub-themes of Protection & Sustainable use of Water Resources, Protection & Improvement of Local Biodiversity, and Development of Renewable Energy. Thus far, 69 projects have been approved for funding under this theme by Local Action Groups.

My Department also provides supports through the Dormant Accounts Fund, through the Social Enterprise and Social Innovation Fund measures, and the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme. These include grants to applicants providing home insulation services, reducing our food waste, sustainable energy actions, bee-keeping and training in thermal insulation installation.

I have also allocated funding supports to those who are exploring the potential of renewable energy and to local projects in that sector.

Additionally, programmes such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme support the diversification of the rural economy and the effective use of communities' areas of natural heritage, creating employment opportunities associated with local tourism projects such as greenways and blueways and through funding for enterprise hubs and other projects.

My Department will continue keep each of the schemes and programmes we administer, under review, to ensure they complement the overall objectives of climate change mitigation.