Angling Sector

Questions (1033)

Shane Cassells

Question:

1033. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount and percentage of national strategy for angling development funding handed back in each of the years 2015 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13175/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD) is the first comprehensive National framework for the development of our angling resources. Within an overarching conservation ethos and focus, the National Strategy sets out three strategic objectives for angling:

- To make angling accessible and attractive through information, infrastructure and support.

- To develop tourism through the promotion of our angling resource.

- To recognise angling as a key leisure and recreation pursuit.

To date, my Department has provided €2 million directly for capital projects under NSAD and a further €537,000 has been provided under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. The Salmon Conservation Fund and Midland Fisheries Fund, both sustainably funded from licence and permit income, are managed in parallel with the NSAD. For clarification, the total funding available to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to date is €3.437 million across all aspects of fisheries development, which are to be delivered under the umbrella of NSAD.

Projects with an investment of €1.654 million have been completed to date, representing some 48% of the available funding. Of this, €1.275 million has already been drawn down and a further €400,000 is due for drawdown shortly.

Drawdown of funds under NSAD, as with other grant-aided programmes involving public funds, is subject to all governance, environmental and other project requirements. As with all publically funded grant aid, funding is made available for drawdown by project promoters after the project is delivered and when all of the governance requirements have been met, therefore the issue of “handing back” funding does not arise. I am advised by IFI that approximately €136,000 will shortly be available for redistribution under a further round of project calls. This represents less than 4% of the available funding.

My Department has separately funded project officers for IFI to promote capacity building and a collaborative approach within the sector and to address shortfalls in expertise within voluntary organisations delivering projects. The officers engage with these groups to progress projects through governance and into delivery phase.

To date, all calls for projects under the NSAD €2 million capital works element have been oversubscribed and for 2019 IFI are concentrating on delivery of existing approved projects before additional project calls can be considered. I have commended IFI on the success of its delivery of NSAD and other investment schemes so far and would point to the following milestones, which demonstrate significant progress:

- Funding has been has been allocated to 174 fisheries development and management projects nationwide;

- 48% of the NSAD projects have been completed to date;

- Angling access has been upgraded in 78 locations with a further 22 due for completion in 2019;

- Over 20 Information and Education initiatives supported, introducing approximately 1000 people to angling and informing visiting anglers. This provided equipment to the value of €60,000 to angling events, signage, marketing and promotion;

- Riparian enhancement, conservation and regeneration work completed on river channels;

- Anti-poaching equipment purchased and installed;

- 10 organised angling events funded to encourage positive social inclusion in communities;

- Over 5,000 hours of engagement and communication from IFI local staff and Projects Office to provide mutual support, information, assistance and advice.

- In respect of 2019, an additional €393,000 has been allocated to IFI to fund initiatives to promote increased participation in angling by young people and novice anglers

Broadcasting Legislation

Questions (1034)

Martin Heydon

Question:

1034. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of changes to the broadcasting Acts to support independent radio stations; the timeline for such changes being implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13285/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill contains a provision to allocate funding to the BAI from TV Licence receipts. This would provide up to a maximum of 50% of the annual cost of the BAI levy, in turn reducing the levy on broadcasters by up to 50%. The proposed amendment is currently at an advanced drafting stage. My Department continues to work closely with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in order to progress this work and ensure it is robust, with a view to having the Bill published in Q2 this year.

In addition, to date, independent radio stations have benefitted from the Sound and Vision Scheme, funded from the licence fee, which provided over €494,000 towards 77 different radio projects for broadcast on independent commercial stations in 2018.

Departmental Contracts Data

Questions (1035)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

1035. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 215 of 14 February 2019, the amount of the cost details provided for each year that were due to VAT; the amount due to expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13319/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Details of expenditure for consultancy services provided to my Department by the company in question in each year from 2015 to date in 2019 are set out in the following table, which has been updated to include the additional information requested.

Year

Services (ex VAT)

Expenses (ex VAT)

VAT on Services and Expenses

Total (incl VAT)

2015

€839,225

€6,661

€194,553

€1,040,440

2016

€99,500

€16,878

€26,767

€143,145

2017

€609,278

€8,548

€142,100

€759,926

2018

€378,069

€2,018

€87,420

€467,507

2019 to date

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Departmental Bodies Data

Questions (1036)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

1036. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the working groups currently established in his Department; the focus of their work; the membership of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13561/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Working Group (s) currently established

Focus of work

Membership/Composition

Working Group on Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting

TV Licence Collection

Chaired by Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, comprising representatives Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform; Finance, Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht; Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Revenue Commissioners

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, working group on the implementation of the revised Audio-visual Media Services Directive

Implementation of the revised Audio-visual Media Services Directive

Officials from Broadcasting Authority of Ireland; Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Radon Control Strategy Co-ordination Group

Recommendations to the Minister/Government on matters relating to radon.

To implement actions agreed.

To report annually on progress to date and future actions planned.

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment;

Departments of Housing, Planning, and Local Government and Education and Skills; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI); Health Service Executive (HSE); Health and Safety Authority (HSA); Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); County and City Management Association (CCMA)

Bioeconomy Implementation Group

The National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy, published in March 2018, mandated the establishment of this high-level Implementation Group, jointly chaired by the Departments of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The principal task of the Group is to bring forward recommendations to develop the bioeconomy further and it will report back to Government shortly.

Joint Chair (Departments of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Communications, Climate Action and Environment ) and invited Members comprised of relevant Government Departments and State Agencies

National Adaptation Steering Committee

Climate Adaptation

Chair: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Members: Government Departments preparing sectoral adaptation plans under National Adaptation Framework (NAF), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Met Éireann, Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs), Regional Assemblies, Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), Irish Water, Health Service Executive, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) Secretariat and others attend as required on an ad hoc basis

Inland Fisheries Policy Group

Consolidation and modernisation of fisheries legislation governing the inland fisheries sector from 1959 to date

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and seconded official from Inland Fisheries Ireland

Sustainable Development Goals – Interdepartmental Working Group

Provide the mechanism for the whole-of-government approach to monitoring and reporting progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

The Group is chaired by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Membership of the group includes a representative from each Government Department.

Rental Sector Advisory Group

The key objective is to consider the split incentive for energy efficiency renovation that exists in the rented sector in Ireland

The group will draft a public consultation on the issue and following analysis of the submissions will then make recommendations to the Minister on proposals which could ameliorate the energy efficiency split incentive in Ireland.

Chair: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Representatives from Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; the Residential Tenancies Board and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Long Term Renovation Strategy Working Group

To draft a 2020 long-term renovation strategy in accordance with the new Article 2a of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Chair: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Representatives from Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Warmth and Wellbeing Steering Group

To oversee the implementation of the pilot scheme and the associated research project.

Chair: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Representatives from Department of Health; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Health Service Executive

Steering Group for the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy

To oversee the implementation of the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy

Chair: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Representatives from: Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government; Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Office of Public Works; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the National Treasury Management Agency

Renewable Electricity Policy & Development Framework (REPDF)

Steering Group and associated working groups

Renewable Energy Planning Framework

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment;

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; Local Government Management Agency; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Eastern & Midland Regional Assembly.

Renewable Electricity Support Scheme

Steering Group and Project team

Renewable Electricity Auction Design

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; Eirgrid; Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

Grid Delivery and Renewable Targets Group

Renewable Electricity Targets 2020

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; Eirgrid; Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU); ESB Networks

Offshore Renewable Energy Group

Steering Group and 3 Working Groups

Offshore Renewable Energy

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; The Commission for Regulation of Utilities;

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht;

Departments of Housing; Planning and Local Government; Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Transport, Tourism and Sport;

Eirgrid; Enterprise Ireland; Environmental Protection Agency; Geological Survey of Ireland; IDA Ireland; Irish Maritime Development Office; National Parks and Wildlife Service; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; The Marine Institute

Energy Networks (Gas & Electricity) Working Group on Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Climate Change Adaptation

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment;

Eirgrid; ESB Networks; ESB Generation; Gas Networks Ireland; Commission for Regulation of Utilities; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; Electricity Association of Ireland; Irish Wind Energy Association

Offline Government services

To make recommendations on the provision of offline Government services

Department of Communications, Climate Action and representatives from Departments of Transport, Tourism & Sport; Agriculture, Food and Marine; Employment Affairs and Social Protection; Health; Education and Skills; Rural and Community Development; Housing, Planning and Local Government; Passport Office; Revenue Commissioners; Office of Government Chief Information Officer

Low Emission Vehicles Taskforce & Working Group

Group to coordinate and oversee work of working groups set up under the LEV Taskforce

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (Co-chair)

Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport (Co-chair)

Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Housing, Planning & Local Government; Public Expenditure & Reform; Finance; An Taoiseach; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); Transport Infrastructure Ireland; National Transport Authority; The County and City Management Association (CCMA)

District Heating Working Group

Develop a set of proposals to assist in the development of a policy framework to encourage the development of district heating.

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (Chair)

Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); Commission for Regulation of Utilities; New Economy & Recovery Authority (NewERA) ; National Development Finance Agency; Codema (Dublin’s Energy Agency); Gas Networks Ireland; ESB; Dublin City Council; South Dublin City Council

Bioenergy Steering Group

Promote co-operation across the range of Government Departments, agencies and State bodies that critical enablers for the development of domestic bioenergy,

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (Chair)

Departments of Agriculture, Food & the Marine; Housing, Planning & Local Government ; Business, Enterprise & Innovation; Transport, Tourism & Sport; Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht ; Rural & Community Development; An Taoiseach; Public Expenditure & Reform;

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland ; Teagasc; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); NewERA

Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) Steering Group

To oversee the development and implementation of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (Chair); Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland ; NewERA

Smart Community Action Group

Investigate the feasibility of public and private sector organisations working together to combine existing assets and resources to maximise the reach and impact of schemes and programmes to support citizens.

The Smart Community initiative has the potential, in combination with Local Authority Digital Strategies, to deliver enhanced demand stimulation for uptake of High Speed Broadband services in urban and rural communities.

Dept. of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment; Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Enterprise Ireland; Local Enterprise Office network

Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Working Group on State and Publicly owned Assets

The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Working Group on State and Publicly owned Assets, a sub-group of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, was established in 2018 as a direct response to Action 19 of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Implementation Review 2017 Report. The role of the Working Group is to explore the feasibility of developing a standardised policy for accessing and utilising State assets for the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure.

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Co-chair); Department of Rural and Community Development (Co-chair);

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; Office of Public Works (OPW); New Economy and Recovery Authority (NewERA); Local Government Management Agency (LGMA)

National Landfill Remediation Joint Steering Group

Landfill Remediation Programme monitoring

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment; Eastern Regional Midlands Waste Region; Connacht Ulster Waste Region; Southern Waste Region

Advisory Group to the Minister on the National Dialogue on Climate Action

National Dialogue on Climate Action

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; ECO-UNESCO; County and City Management Association ; Irish Business and Employers Confederation ; Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Trocaire ; Environmental Pillar; National Economic & Social Council; Four individual representatives; Irish Farmers' Association

National Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Development of national position for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations

Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment

Departments of Agriculture Food and Marine; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Public Expenditure and Reform; Transport, Tourism and Sport; Finance; Office of the Attorney General; Department of the Taoiseach; Environmental Protection Agency; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Wetlands Working Group

Working Group is tasked with progressing the accounting of Ireland’s managed wetlands so that such data may be incorporated into Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions inventories. It will incorporate analysis from ongoing work by the EPA on the delivery of the CORINE dataset under the Copernicus Programme, as well as the ongoing cross-agency national working group to advance a programme for national land cover and habitat mapping (NLCHM).

Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; National Parks and Wildlife Service; Teagasc; Environmental Protection Agency

Technical Research and Modelling Group (TRAM)

Technical working group to inform climate and energy policy development

Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment

Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; Teagasc; Department of Transport Tourism and Sport; Department of Housing Planning and Local Government; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; Environmental Protection Agency; National Treasury Management Agency; Department of the Taoiseach; Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Department of Finance; Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation; Envecon; University College Dublin; University College Cork; Economic and Social Research Institute

Quarterly Threat Sharing Group Meetings

Threat Sharing

A range of Public Sector entities and Critical Infrastructure Operators

High Level Steering Group for the next National Cyber Security Strategy

National Cyber Security Strategy

Senior Officials from stakeholder Government Departments and Agencies

Turlough Advisory Committee.

Monitoring groundwater flooding areas in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon

Officials from Department of Communications, climate Action & Environment

Comprises members such as Office of Public Works, Irish Water, Environmental Protection Agency, Galway County Council and Roscommon County Council.

Television Licence Fee

Questions (1037)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

1037. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 521 of 30 January 2018, if the proposal has been taken under further consideration with regard to the eligibility for television licences in the self-catering sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13601/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In accordance with Section 142 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, any premises at which a television is located requires a TV Licence regardless of its use. Therefore, owners and controlling management companies of all holiday home accommodation premises which include a television set, are required to purchase a separate TV Licence for each accommodation unit.

There are no plans to change the current situation.

Air Quality

Questions (1038)

Catherine Martin

Question:

1038. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans and timelines for making air quality data available to the public in an accessible manner as is the case with a network (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the EPA’s air quality data is difficult to navigate and has significant gaps in data availability between the ending of the historical data measuring periods and the 14 day recent timeline periods; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13722/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the 2008 Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC) and the Fourth Daughter Directive (Directive 2004/107/EC of 15 December 2004). These Directives also include rules on how Member States should monitor, assess and manage ambient air quality. Under the Directives, EU Member States must designate "zones" for the purpose of managing air quality. For Ireland, four zones were defined in the Air Quality Standards Regulations, 2011. The zones in place in Ireland in 2019 are Zone A: the Dublin conurbation; Zone B: the Cork conurbation; Zone C: comprising 23 large towns in Ireland with a population of more than 15,000; and Zone D: the remaining area of Ireland. Ireland established a nationwide network of monitoring stations which measure levels of air pollutants in the four zones. The numbers and locations of the monitoring equipment for each pollutant are determined by the requirements of the Directives for ambient air monitoring in each zone.

Information from these stations is provided in map format in near real-time at www.airquality.ie The most recent real-time data from automated stations is also currently provided by the EPA at http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/data/ in the form of continuously updated graphs. Historical data sets are available for download, also through the EPA website.

Following a review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of air quality monitoring and information provision in Ireland, a decision was taken to develop a new National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP) which aims to enhance and build on current arrangements. One of the key objectives of the programme is to enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public. The AAMP will more than double the capacity of ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland over the period 2017 to 2022, and enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public. My Department has committed funding of some €5 million over the lifetime of the programme. As part of this on-going enhancement of the provision of real time air quality data to the public, the EPA will also shortly be launching a new map based dashboard to provide more accessible information to the public, to be followed by a station based Air Quality Index for Health.

Grant Aid

Questions (1039, 1046)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

1039. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a grant is available for a boiler to be fitted for a person (details supplied). [13735/19]

View answer

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

1046. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a grant is available for a boiler to be fitted in the case of a person (details supplied). [13790/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1039 and 1046 together.

The SEAI operates a number of energy efficiency upgrade schemes on behalf of my Department. These schemes range from partial grants for individuals that can afford to contribute to the cost of upgrades to free energy efficiency improvements for people who are in receipt of certain welfare payments; grants are, however, no longer paid for fossil fuel boilers. Information on these schemes are available from the SEAI on 1850 250 204 or their website at https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/heating-upgrade-grants/

In addition to potential SEAI scheme assistance, the Deputy may wish to contact the relevant Local Authority and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to ascertain whether the individual concerned is eligible for other supports.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (1040)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1040. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to his comments on 19 February 2019, if he has met with companies (details supplied) to discuss the impact of commercial roll-outs on the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13740/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I welcome recent announcements of further commercial investment in high speed broadband infrastructure by telecommunications operators. While I have not had direct engagement with either company, officials from my Department have met with representatives of these operators and have received high level presentations from both with regard to their commercial deployment plans.

The National Broadband Plan is designed to encourage investment in high speed broadband networks, so that as many premises as possible are addressed by commercial operators. To date almost 74% of the premises in Ireland are now covered by high speed broadband and this is expected to rise to 77% before the end of this year and these new investment announcements (along with other recent operator announcements) are further evidence of the willingness of industry to continue to invest and improve services to citizens across the country.

While both operators have indicated a willingness to keep the Department appraised of their rollouts as their plans develop over the coming years, they have indicated that they do not anticipate making a formal submission seeking a change to the NBP High speed broadband map. To date, neither operator has published, or provided my Department with, detailed commercial or technical plans identifying individual premises to be served.

In order for premises to be removed from the State intervention area, a commercial operator must make a submission to my Department outlining its plans and commitments to provide these premises with a high speed broadband service. This is consistent with the State aid rules applying to State interventions to ensure the availability of high speed broadband services. Any such submission must satisfy the criteria set down by my Department in the mapping process that was published in 2015 on my Department’s website, before the NBP procurement process commenced. Details of the mapping process are available at the following link: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/Managing%20IA%20Map%2020Consultation%20Paper%20FINAL%2021-12-15.pdf).

National Broadband Plan

Questions (1041)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1041. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether the roll-out of 5G services within the amber area would present a barrier to the roll-out of the national broadband plan; if the roll-out of a fibre network would be permissible under state aid rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13741/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The rollout of 5G services across Ireland is a key ingredient in meeting the country’s future connectivity needs; 5G will offer improvements in services and unlock new opportunities to businesses, communities and citizens across the State.

Ireland is a front runner in supporting the adoption of 5G services and exploring its potential capabilities. The State’s early allocation of the 3.6Ghz spectrum in 2017, (the first in Europe) and the actions to remove commercial barriers to 5G rollouts, undertaken through the Government’s Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce are both key enablers to ensuring 5G becomes a reality in Ireland at the earliest opportunity.

The future connectivity needs of citizens will be met by a combination of solutions, not solely through 5G, but also through other complementary solutions including the National Broadband Plan (NBP), which aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. These different initiatives are likely to work in tandem together to provide connectivity services and solutions where they are best suited. I note recent publications from ComReg reporting on

Meeting Consumers' Connectivity Needs (https://www.comreg.ie/improving-connectivity-in-ireland-challenges-solutions-and-actions/) through a range of solutions which highlights this point. Therefore the rollout of 5G networks in the Amber area is encouraged and does not present a barrier to the rollout of the NBP.

In relation to the rollout of a fibre based network, State Aid Guidelines provide that intervention in a market failure scenario must be technology neutral. The NBP procurement process sought market solutions based on this guidance. All pre-qualified bids received through this process did, however, propose a predominantly fibre to the home solution.

As the Deputy will be aware, the procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage and I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

National Broadband Plan Data

Questions (1042)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1042. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of premises contained within amber areas of the national broadband plan by county. [13742/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The AMBER areas on the National Broadband Plan High Speed Broadband Map represents the parts of the country that are the focus of the NBP State Intervention. The following is a document which details the number of premises in each category of the NBP High Speed Broadband Map by county for Q4 2018, which shows a total of 543,281 premises in the Amber areas.

High Speed Broadband Map County Coverage Statistics Q4 2018 National Broadband Plan

County Name

Total Number

of Premises

AMBER

Premises

Intervention

Area

BLUE

Premises

Commercial

Operators

LIGHT BLUE

Premises

Planned Rural

Deployment*

Carlow

Carlow

27,994

7,875

18,052

2,067

Cavan

42,110

16,995

23,951

1,164

Clare

68,689

23,359

41,742

3,588

Cork

269,952

74,820

184,183

10,949

Donegal

101,830

34,107

65,212

2,511

Dublin

604,412

10,551

593,585

276

Galway

135,118

39,185

88,483

7,450

Kerry

89,458

28,706

54,952

5,800

Kildare

92,235

13,885

77,589

761

Kilkenny

48,001

17,996

27,201

2,804

Laois

39,253

12,772

24,415

2,066

Leitrim

22,338

11,297

9,583

1,458

Limerick

97,568

21,878

67,821

7,869

Longford

22,308

8,193

12,401

1,714

Louth

61,034

8,660

51,993

381

Mayo

83,465

36,843

38,862

7,760

Meath

86,021

20,256

63,370

2,395

Monaghan

33,035

15,733

16,543

759

Offaly

36,966

12,387

22,485

2,094

Roscommon

39,089

18,469

17,618

3,002

Sligo

40,092

14,314

23,722

2,056

Tipperary

83,963

30,250

45,693

8,020

Waterford

61,624

16,589

43,646

1,389

Westmeath

44,397

11,963

30,891

1,543

Wexford

82,535

21,761

59,620

1,154

Wicklow

64,876

14,437

48,880

1,559

Total

2,378,363

543,281

1,752,493

82,589

*These figures represent planned rural deployment and will reduce once premises are passed.

Broadcasting Service Provision

Question No. 1044 answered with Question No. 1024.

Questions (1043)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1043. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position with regard to the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment report on the future funding of public service broadcasting; the recommendations acted on to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13743/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In light of the recommendations in the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action & Environment on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting, a Working Group was set up by Government decision in July 2018 to examine options for the reform of TV licence collection. The Group's work is ongoing and it is scheduled to report to me shortly.

Additional funding for public service broadcasting was provided in Budget 2019. TG4 will receive €36.2m Exchequer funding in 2019, comprising a combination of €34.2m current and €2m capital, which is an increase of €443,000 compared to 2018. In addition, Budget 2019 provided for an extra €9.245m in additional funding to RTE and the Broadcasting Fund, of which RTE received approximately €8.6m. The Broadcasting Fund, financed from 7% of net licence fee receipts, supports the Sound and Vision and Archiving Schemes, and benefits the broadcasting sector as a whole.

Question No. 1044 answered with Question No. 1024.

Departmental Data

Question No. 1046 answered with Question No. 1039.

Questions (1045)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

1045. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of complaints submitted to his Department in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of appeals made with respect to the outcome of such complaints; the number referred to the Office of the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13776/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

There were fifteen customer complaints received by my Department in 2017; thirteen in 2018; and three to date in 2019. No appeals have been made and none of the complaints were referred to the Ombudsman.

Question No. 1046 answered with Question No. 1039.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (1047)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1047. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the extension of the roll-out of high speed broadband in areas marked in light blue on the high speed broadband map; if a premises within a 500 metre radius can be added to a light blue area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13874/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Under a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017, eir is in the process of passing 300,000 predominantly rural homes with high speed broadband. According to data for Q4 2018 submitted by eir to my Department the company has passed almost 225,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment.

These premises are in the LIGHT BLUE area of my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie.

Information on eir's rural deployment is available on that company’s website, http://fibrerollout.ie/Eircode-lookup/. A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website.

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of the Commitment Agreement, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.

Decisions made by private telecommunications operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commercial basis. I have no statutory role or function in such commercial decisions of private operators, and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (1048)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

1048. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when fibre broadband will be rolled out at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13901/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP.

As the Deputy will be aware, the procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage and I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, 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 Local Authority Broadband Officers is continuing. 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.

Departmental Reports

Questions (1049)

Catherine Martin

Question:

1049. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the terms of reference for the report on just transition due in early 2019 (details supplied); and the date for the completion of the report. [13934/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 524 of 12 March 2019.

The position is unchanged.

Waste Management

Questions (1050)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1050. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position with regard to the commissioning of a waste characterisation study of litter, street cleanings and street bin collected material; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14102/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The first National Waste Characterisation study in ten years was published by the EPA in December, 2018. The report provides a very important insight on our waste management practices and will prove invaluable in terms of supporting current and future waste policy decisions. The report further highlights areas where improvements can and must be made if we are to keep achieving our targets under EU legislation and transition to a circular and resource efficient economy. Details of the report are available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/waste/wastecharacterisation/.

My Department has funded a range of initiatives to support people to prevent, segregate and mange their waste more sustainably, including through the development of a single national recycling list for households, a 'Master Recycling programme, the 'Stop Food Waste' programme and information on how to use the organic bin appropriately, at www.brownbin.ie.

To further assist in the provision of information to the public, my Department, in conjunction with the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices, launched a new website in November 2018, www.mywaste.ie. This website has been developed by the Regional Waste Management Offices with support from my Department, to provide consumers with a single information resource on all aspects of domestic waste management in Ireland and in particular it focuses on the provision of advice on managing waste more responsibly and efficiently.

Material collected as litter, street cleanings and from on-street refuse bins make up 3 to 4% of Municipal Waste based on current best estimates, but it is an element of waste about which we need to know more. The EPA is currently preparing tenders for work to include characterisation of litter, street cleanings and street bin collected material, with the expectation that this work will begin in quarter 2 2019.

Waste Management

Questions (1051)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1051. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the progress and the anticipated completion and publication of a cost-benefit analysis for a deposit return scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14103/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

This Government is committed to leading the way in reducing single use plastics and is working both at a national and European level to tackle the problem. The government has:

- Agreed that Government Departments and bodies will not purchase single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws

- Strongly supported new EU legislation on Single Use Plastics (SUP), which will ban straws, cotton bud sticks made from plastic, plastic plates and cutlery, plastic coffee stirrers and plastic balloon holders

- Committed to a 90% plastic bottle collection target and a 55% plastic recycling target

- Commenced a clean oceans initiative to collect, reduce and reuse marine litter and clean up our marine environment

- Commissioned a review to establish the best way to reach a 90% collection target for beverage containers, after which the Minister will announce the necessary actions.

A tender process for the completion of a national study into how Ireland can achieve the new, higher waste collection targets for beverage containers, as outlined in the EU Single Use Plastic proposal is underway.

The study is intended to identify how this higher new waste collection target can be achieved within an Irish context. The feasibility of the implementation of a Deposit and Return Scheme as a means to achieve this, is to be considered as one option. It is imperative that the full costs and impacts of introducing a new collection system, on top of the existing, successful collection system, are understood to allow for informed evidence-based decision making.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 1053 answered with Question No. 1024.

Questions (1052)

John Curran

Question:

1052. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the action he plans to take to address the issue of climate change in view of the scale and engagement of school children in a national climate change protest; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14124/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I am currently preparing an All of Government Climate Plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I am working with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport and heat, as well as a range of other sectors.

The All of Government Plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with specific timelines and steps needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery. It will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries, where such approaches could be adapted for implementation in Ireland.

The Plan will build on the previous actions and framework put in place by both the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan (NDP), and is to be completed by April.

Question No. 1053 answered with Question No. 1024.