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Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021

Written Answers Nos. 98-117

Waste Management

Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 92.

Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 92.

Questions (98)

Thomas Gould

Question:

98. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if his attention has been drawn to four waste management facilities in a location (details supplied) which are surrounded by residential properties and sporting facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29423/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Waste management facilities, such as those referred to by the Deputy, are subject to a range of regulatory controls under national legislation, including planning permission and the conditions attached to a licence issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the operation and management of such sites. Monitoring and enforcement of conditions imposed under planning permission is a matter for the relevant local authority while environmental monitoring and enforcement associated with licensed activities is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency. Under Section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act, as Minister, I am precluded from the exercise of any power or control in relation to the performance in particular circumstances by the Agency or a local authority of a function conferred on it by the Act, therefore questions in relation to these facilities should be directed to the EPA and relevant local authority as appropriate.

Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 92.
Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 92.

Environmental Policy

Questions (101)

Brian Leddin

Question:

101. Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastic items such as cutlery, plates and straws in addition to expanded polystyrene containers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29424/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy outlines the measures Ireland is taking under the Single Use Plastics Directive (EU 2019/904) to substantially reduce the amount of single use plastic items we use and to sustainably manage the waste arising from those we do. The Directive will be transposed by the deadline of 3 July 2021 and from that date single use plastic cutlery, plates, stirrers, straws, balloon sticks and cotton bud sticks may not be placed on the Irish market. This ban will also apply to single use expanded polystyrene cups and food containers and all products containing oxo-degradable plastic. The Plan sets out the range of steps we will take to become leaders in the EU in the fight against single use plastics including the commitment to introduce a Deposit and Return Scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans and a levy on the use of disposable coffee cups with the ambition of ultimately banning them entirely.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 103 answered with Question No. 97.

Questions (102)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

102. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the meaning of just transition and climate justice in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29278/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The recently published Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill, 2021, proposes to define climate justice as the requirement that decisions and actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change shall, in so far as it is practicable to do so, safeguard the rights of the most vulnerable persons and endeavour to share the burdens and benefits arising from climate change. In relation to just transition, the Bill proposes to amend section 4(8) of the Principal Act to provide that, for the purposes of performing their respective functions under section 4, the Minister and the Government shall have regard, inter alia, to the requirement for a just transition to a climate neutral economy which endeavours, in so far as is practicable, to maximise employment opportunities, and support persons and communities that may be negatively affected by the transition.

Key objectives for a just climate transition have been set out in the Programme for Government, including the need to deliver alternative job opportunities to sectors and regions most affected and to ensure that vulnerable groups are supported through the transition, as transformative policies are implemented. These objectives, as well as specific proposals for their implementation, will be further articulated in the forthcoming revision to the Climate Action Plan. 

Question No. 103 answered with Question No. 97.

Cybersecurity Policy

Questions (104)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

104. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the degree to which he is engaged in the protection against cyber-attacks across all Departments and the bodies under their aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29384/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSC) has a broad remit across the cyber security of Government ICT and critical national infrastructure. The National Cyber Strategy 2019-2024 sets out the role of the NCSC to support Government Departments and other public bodies to improve the resilience and security of their IT systems to better protect services that our people rely upon, and their data. The NCSC works very closely with the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) in this regard. The NCSC acts as a central contact point in the event of a Government- or nation-wide cyber security incident affecting the State. The NCSC also coordinates and supports the response to significant incidents, with the lead role being taken by the entity affected by the incident. The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) is the team within the NCSC that leads in responding to cyber security incidents. The CSIRT has achieved international accreditation and its personnel are highly-regarded internationally. It is this team that engages with the affected body to support it in addressing the threat.

Information sharing is a key component of the work of the NCSC whereby it acts as a source of expert advice and guidance, but also as a "clearing house" for information. That is to say it takes in threat intelligence data, trends and risks data, from national, global and local sources, analyses them, and makes sure that those people who need that data get it, either to protect their own systems, or to assist them in carrying out their statutory roles. The NCSC is in regular and frequent communication with international counterparts and there is an ongoing two-way exchange of information.

The NCSC also supports public bodies, operators of essential services and digital service providers to improve their cyber security posture and fulfil their obligations under the European Network and Information Security Directive. The NCSC takes a very proactive role to supporting these important bodies on their cyber security journey by hosting seminars and workshops for instance.

Grant Payments

Questions (105)

Seán Canney

Question:

105. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will review the threshold on the level of grants available for deep retrofit of houses due to the exceptional rise in the cost of insulation over the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29206/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department funds a number of grant schemes to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. These are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Since 2000, around 450,000 homeowners have upgraded their homes with support from these schemes, representing nearly one home in four across the country. This has resulted in warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes that are easier and cheaper to heat and light. This year, €221.5 million in capital funding has been provided for SEAI residential and community retrofit programmes. This represents an 82% increase on the 2020 allocation and is the largest amount ever for the schemes. SEAI offers grants of up to 35% of the cost of home energy upgrades to homeowners as well as free home energy upgrades to people at risk of energy poverty.

In the case of deep retrofits, improving insulation will be just one measure in a suite of upgrades. There has been an increase in the cost of insulation materials in the last 12 months. This is largely as a result of disruptions to the supply chain and impact of Covid globally. This increase is not limited to the retrofitting sector.

SEAI is currently reviewing the existing grant incentives available for homeowners in order to ensure that retrofit schemes encourage sufficient uptake and achieve the highest reduction of emissions while offering value for money.  In addition, my Department is currently identifying best ways of bringing to the market affordable financing solutions to complement grants and support deeper home energy upgrades at scale.

Data Centres

Questions (106, 118)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

106. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the analysis his Department has carried out to determine the amount of renewable energy that will be used by data centres by 2030; the efforts he is taking to ensure the sustainable use of renewable energy as more data centres come on stream; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29429/21]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

118. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of the impact that data centres will have on electricity demand in Ireland over the next decade and the policy interventions planned as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28802/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 118 together.

The Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland's Enterprise Strategy (2018) acknowledges the role of data centres as part of the digital and communications infrastructure for many sectors of our economy. Data centres are part of the core infrastructure of the digital economy by enabling inter alia data storage, banking and disaster recovery services. They have become increasingly important in the context of remote working during the Covid 19 pandemic and also support high-quality jobs. The Statement also noted that data centres pose considerable challenges to the future planning and operation of Ireland’s power system.

In 2020, data centres represented approximately 11% of the total electricity used in Ireland. EirGrid, in their Generation Capacity Statement 2020-2029, project that demand from data centres could account for 27% of all demand by 2029 which is significant.

The Programme for Government commits to developing efficiency standards for equipment and processes, particularly those set to grow rapidly, such as data centres. The ICT sector needs to undergo its own green transformation. In addition, EirGrid recently launched a public consultation on 'Shaping our Electricity Future'. The aim is to make the electricity grid stronger and more flexible so that it can carry significantly more renewable generation as well as meet increasing demand from high volume energy users such as data centres. This may include potential geographic restrictions or incentives of large demand customers closer to the generation of power, potentially giving a more regional balance of locations. A consultation on this strategy is open until 14 June and there has been detailed stakeholder engagement on it.

Furthermore, my Department is carrying out a review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems. It is planned that the review will be completed by the end of 2021. The outcome of the review may inform policy in order to meet future demand from data centres.

Ireland has significant ambitions to ensure that at least 70% of our electricity demand will be met by renewable sources by 2030. This will help supply the growing demand from data centres. In addition, the large multinationals with data centres in Ireland have committed to a global target of being 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025 with some committing to 24/7 renewable energy supply. Under the 2019 Climate Action Plan a Corporate Power Purchase Advisory Group was established to develop options for realising a target of 15% of demand to be met from CPPAs by 2030. The SEAI launched a public consultation on the report which closed on 14 April 2021. Based on the consultation feedback and other considerations, a recommendations paper on a roadmap for CPPAs will be de veloped later in 2021.

Environmental Policy

Questions (107)

Alan Farrell

Question:

107. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will report on the analysis on the consultation on the proposed deposit and return scheme, the introduction of which is planned for quarter three of 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29402/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, launched last September, sets out a clear roadmap for the introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and aluminium cans in the third quarter of 2022. This process began with the launch of a public consultation on the design of a DRS for Ireland in October last year.  It was encouraging to see the level of public engagement in this first consultation with the majority of the 364 submissions received supporting the introduction of the Scheme and favouring a centralised, legislation based system, operated by a single entity.   The submissions received under this consultation will be published shortly on my Department’s website.  

Following this consultation, a stakeholder working group, consisting of beverage producers, retailers, eNGOs and waste collectors was established to progress the design of the system.  The Department of Agriculture, Environment Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland have sat in on the working group discussions as observers. 

The second step in the process was a further consultation on the regulatory framework for the Scheme which concluded on 7 May. Submissions received under this are currently being assessed and will inform the working group in their deliberations on a final regulatory framework.

I intend to finalise Regulations enabling the introduction of the Deposit and Return scheme early in the third quarter of this year, in order to enable the scheme to commence in the third quarter of 2022.

Post Office Network

Questions (108, 116)

Darren O'Rourke

Question:

108. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he plans to introduce a public service obligation payment for the post office network in order to protect this essential service and prevent further more closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29403/21]

View answer

Matt Shanahan

Question:

116. Deputy Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications his views on the present viability of the post office network; the steps that will be taken to support the viability of rural post offices which are a vital component in regional towns and villages; the further steps he will take to encourage the Department of Finance to provide public service obligation supports to the existing post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27883/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 108 and 116 together.  108  and  116  together. 

An Post is a commercial State body with a mandate to act commercially. It has statutory responsibility for the State’s postal service and the post office network. Decisions relating to the network, including those in relation to the size, distribution and future of the network are operational matters for the Board and management of the company.

 While it is longstanding Government policy that postal services will not be directly subsidised by the Government, we remain fully committed to a sustainable post office network as a key component of the economic and social infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.  As with any business the post office needs to develop commercial strategies to enable it to grow and maintain its relevance for its users.

 Government continues to provide significant business to An Post through the Department of Social Protection’s Social Welfare contract and National Treasury Management Agency business. Government efforts have been focussed on supporting An Post in the roll out of new services and the delivery of its strategic plan. An Post, has been growing its financial services as a key part of its business strategy, building on the significant savings business it has in partnership with the NTMA, its market-leading position in foreign exchange and existing current account, credit card and consumer lending customer base. 

 A Capital Expenditure programme was approved at Ministerial level which, as part of the Company’s commitment to the sustainability of its network, is designed to develop the newer elements of An Post’s Financial Services business and mitigate declining core mail volumes and revenues on the Retail side of the business. €30m in State funding was made available to the company, of which €15 million is to support the renewal of the post office network and a further €15 million towards the continued fulfilment of a five-day per week mail delivery service. Government has faith in the ability of An Post and the postmasters to deliver on that renewal process.

 Government is committed to working with  An Post and postmasters  to ensure that the network continues to play a strong role in delivering State services. Government recently approved the Report on the Provision of Offline Government Services and the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Group, co-chaired by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to, inter alia, examine the feasibility of directing more Government business to the post office network. The Group has met twice with a further meeting scheduled in early June and will report back to Government by the end of July.

 All options will be considered fully to give effect to our commitment to ensuring a sustainable and viable post office network, while respecting the commercial mandate of An Post.

Cybersecurity Policy

Questions (109)

Johnny Guirke

Question:

109. Deputy Johnny Guirke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if the role of Director of the National Cyber Security Centre has been filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29455/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Last year as, as part of the ongoing development of the NCSC, it was decided to create two new positions of Director and Chief Technology Officer on the NCSC senior management team. Following an open competition, the CTO role was filled early this year. An open competition was also held for Director of the NCSC. At the conclusion of the competition process, the preferred candidate did not accept the offer of employment. It is intended to re-advertise the Director role in the near future.  The capacity of the National Cyber Security Centre has been increased from 7 in 2016 to 29 today.  A Capacity Review of the NCSC which is due to report shortly, will inform the future development of the NCSC and the extent of any additional resources required in order for the NCSC to continue to deliver its mandate.

Water Services

Questions (110)

Martin Browne

Question:

110. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications his views on the possibility of introducing a scheme that would provide funding to local community centres, sports centres and other such premises for rainwater harvesting systems; the research that has been carried by his Department into such systems; his views on whether funding or contributing to the funding of such systems would have a beneficial effect on water usage and the costs incurred by these organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29390/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I have no function in relation to the matters raised by the Deputy. Responsibility for policy in relation to water services is a matter for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Local Authorities

Questions (111)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Question:

111. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the supports and funding available to local authorities for litter and cleansing measures in particular in 2021 to facilitate an outdoor summer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29367/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I recently announced the provision of an additional €5m in funding for litter prevention and clean up in 2021, as the country prepares for an outdoor summer due to the ongoing Covid situation. This additional funding will support inter alia: - the provision of quality litter picking materials such as litter pickers, gloves and bags;

- immediate mapping of existing levels of on-street infrastructure (bins and dog-fouling receptacles) and the urgent provision and immediate roll-out of additional infrastructure to address any gaps identified;

- potential support for the servicing of on-street infrastructure;

- additional education and awareness efforts

A circular has issued to each local authority regarding this additional €5 million funding - on top of funding provided under the Anti Dumping Initiative and Anti Litter and Graffiti Awareness Grant Scheme - and the Department is liaising with individual local authorities to establish a platform for funding proposals and to identify where additional infrastructure is most needed.  Each local authority has now appointed a lead person to liaise with the Department regarding the new scheme and a questionnaire  has issued to each lead, requesting a range of information relating to their existing litter infrastructure, clean up and awareness  activities. The responses to this questionnaire and  the ongoing discussions between the Department and the local authority sector will inform the design of the scheme and a further Circular will issue informing local authorities of the details and their individual allocations shortly. While these measures are intended to support anti littering activities and support an outdoor summer to be enjoyed by all citizens, there remains a fundamental onus on all of us to make a conscious effort to leave no trace.

Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan

Questions (112)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Question:

112. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the way in which the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire coastal community will benefit from off-shore infrastructure such as windfarms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29368/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Programme for Government commits to the achievement of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030 and the development of a longer-term plan to potentially take advantage of up to 30GW of offshore floating wind power in our deeper Atlantic waters.  

These ambitious targets will require investment of tens of billions of euro in Ireland’s offshore renewable energy sector, which will deliver considerable benefits to coastal communities in terms of high-value jobs, and indigenous supply chains. A cross-departmental Offshore Renewable Energy Top Team, chaired by my Department, is in the process of being established to capture these wider economic and business opportunities.  

The significant role for regional ports in development of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy sector, and the need for investment in port infrastructure, will also benefit local coastal communities through employment and commercial opportunities. A review of national ports policy in 2021 by the Department of Transport will consider the required port infrastructure development to facilitate Ireland’s future offshore renewable energy sector.  

There is an additional requirement within the Renewable Energy Support Scheme that offshore windfarms establish Community Benefit Funds prior to project operation and for specified contributions to be made to these funds. My Department will also publish a Good Practice Principles Handbook by July 2021, providing guidance on the management of Community Benefit funds, to ensure community participation in fund decision-making. This handbook will firmly establish local community participation in fund decision-making.  

In addition to enabling Ireland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to meet international decarbonisation obligations, and providing employment opportunities in the green economy, development of an indigenous offshore energy sector will benefit all Irish citizens through enhanced security of energy supply and reduced exposure to imported fossil fuel prices.

Departmental Schemes

Questions (113)

Sorca Clarke

Question:

113. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he considers the current waiting lists for SEAI grants in counties Longford and Westmeath to be indicative of the roll-out of the warmer homes scheme nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29516/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households vulnerable to energy poverty. The scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). To date over 142,000 homes have received free upgrades leaving them better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level. The approximate average value of the energy efficiency measures provided to a household under the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme was €14,800 in 2020. I have secured additional resources this year to expand the capacity of the SEAI to deliver the scheme. Funding for the energy poverty retrofit schemes has also increased to over €109 million in 2021. This is an increase of €47 million on the 2020 allocation. In addition, delivery capacity has increased due to a new, broader contractor panel that commenced at the end of 2020.

There are currently over 7,800 homes including 71 homes in Longford and 188 homes in Westmeath on the Warmer Homes work programme. The scheme operates nationally on a first come first served basis. SEAI data indicates that for homes completed in 2020, the average time from application to completion was approximately 18 months in Longford, Westmeath and nationally. The average wait times are expected to increase significantly in 2021 due to the extensive COVID-19 related restrictions on construction activity between March and June of last year as well as between January and 12 April of this year when the scheme was fully paused in line with Government guidelines.  Works under the scheme has now recommenced in line with activity in the residential construction sector. 

The SEAI has advised me that the average wait times should only ever be used as a general guide and that wait times vary, based on the demand for the scheme at the time of application as well as other factors including the scale of works to be completed, access to the property, availability of materials and the weather. 

A further €112.5 million will be spent on expanding other existing SEAI residential and community grant schemes and introducing new initiatives. This will support an increased level of retrofit activity in 2021.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (114)

Réada Cronin

Question:

114. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the energy security of the State in the context of meeting Ireland's emissions targets under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Just Transition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29410/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

A range of State bodies are responsible for ensuring security of energy supply. In the electricity and natural gas sectors, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, EirGrid and Gas Networks Ireland publish regular reports in relation to security of supply, which are available on their websites. For instance, EirGrid's Generation Capacity Statement, which is published annually, sets out the expected levels of electricity generation and demand for each year over the coming decade. In the oil sector, the National Oil Reserves Agency is responsible for holding stocks of oil equivalent to 90 days of national demand as required under EU law. My Department works with of all of the State bodies to ensure continued security of energy supply. In addition, my Department is currently carrying out a review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems. The review is focusing on the period to 2030 in the context of ensuring a sustainable pathway by 2050. This review is taking into account the ambition set out in the Programme for Government which is set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021.

The Government is committed to a just climate transition as part of Ireland’s transition, over the coming decades, to a climate neutral economy. Key objectives for a just climate transition have been set out in the Programme for Government, including the need to deliver alternative job opportunities to sectors and regions most affected and to ensure that vulnerable groups are supported through the transition, as transformative policies are implemented. These objectives, as well as specific proposals for their implementation, will be further articulated in the forthcoming revision to the Climate Action Plan.

Waste Management

Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 108.

Questions (115)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

115. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if there are plans to introduce a disability waste waiver; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29366/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department has engaged with relevant stakeholders, including representative organisations such as Family Carer’s Ireland, Age Action, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland and public bodies such as the National Disability Authority, the HSE, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Protection, in an effort to see how best to support persons with long-term incontinence with respect to the disposal of medical incontinence wear. Since mid-2017, a range of charging options have operated, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste. This provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various service-price offerings that suit different household circumstances. Mandatory per kilogramme 'pay by weight' charging was not introduced. A Price Monitoring Group (PMG) was established in mid-2017 to monitor the on-going cost of residential waste collection to homeowners across Ireland as the ‘flat-rate structure’ was being phased out. While fluctuations in prices and service offerings have been observed, the overall trend has been relative price stability. Results from the PMG are available on my Department's website.

In September 2020, Minister Ryan launched a new national waste policy for the period 2020-2025, A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy. This plan contains a range of measures to empower households through enhanced consumer protection requirements. It also envisages an enhanced monitoring of the market to ensure continued relative price stability.

Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 108.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (117)

Darren O'Rourke

Question:

117. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications further to Parliamentary Question No. 67 of 19 May 2021, if he will publish the Just Transition Commissioner’s latest report given the added importance of its timing as the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 progresses through the legislative stages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29405/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government appointed Mr Kieran Mulvey as Just Transition Commissioner in November 2019 to facilitate discussions and work with stakeholders to develop, mobilise and deliver opportunities for the Midlands for both the workers directly affected and the wider community. The Commissioner is undertaking his work with administrative support provided by my Department. The Commissioner is also being supported in certain of his engagements with stakeholders in the Midlands by the Secretariat to the Midlands Regional Transition Team.

The Commissioner has prepared three progress reports to date and the first two reports are available on my Department's website at http://www.gov.ie/decc/. I have received and am considering the Commissioner’s third report and I intend to publish it shortly.  I anticipate requesting the Commissioner to prepare a further report before the end of 2021, with a view to considering progress to date in implementing the range of interventions that have been put in place by the Government.

I intend that the Climate Action Plan 2021 will contain a specific chapter on just transition which will address the Programme for Government commitment to prepare an implementation plan in response to the recommendations contained in the Commissioner’s reports.

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