Litter Pollution

Questions (41)

Colm Burke

Question:

41. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will consider intensifying the current laws in place against littering and dumping, in particular with the use of CCTV for the gathering of evidence and if local authorities are entitled to use this in court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57863/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department published the General Scheme of the Circular Economy Bill 2021 on 15 June 2021. It is my intention under the Bill to facilitate not only the use of CCTV, but also the use of a broad range of Audio Visual Recording (AVR) equipment in order to assist local authorities in their efforts to combat litter and illegal dumping. Drafting of the Bill is well advanced, as is, I understand, the pre-legislative scrutiny process before the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action. The Bill will be published and enacted as soon as possible after pre-legislative scrutiny has been completed and I have considered the Report of the Committee. I look forward to receiving the Committee's recommendations.

A combination of legislation and guidance will help to ensure that the processing of personal data, obtained through the use of CCTV and AVR equipment, may be carried out by local authorities tasked with enforcing both litter and waste legislation, thus providing an important deterrent in order to protect our environment from the scourge of illegal dumping, while at the same time respecting the privacy rights of citizens. The Bill can also facilitate consideration of the use of Fixed Penalty Notices for litter and waste enforcement purposes.

Environmental Policy

Questions (42)

Robert Troy

Question:

42. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if his Department has considered, or plans to consider, the use of biofuels in home heating (details supplied). [57697/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), at the request of my Department, is currently developing a comprehensive National Heat Study which aims to examine options to decarbonise the heating and cooling sectors in Ireland to 2050. The study is examining a range of options including sustainable bioenergy such as bioliquids.

This study is underway, and further details are available on the SEAI website at www.seai.ie/data-and-insights/national-heat-study/.

In addition, my Department carried out a consultation on the potential introduction of a renewable energy obligation in the heat sector. Such an obligation, if introduced, would require the suppliers of fossil fuels for use in the heat sector to also supply renewable energy. The level of renewable energy that would have to be supplied would be based on a proportion of the fossil fuels supplied. There are a range of renewable energies that could be used to meet the obligation including bioliquids. The consultation is now closed and my Department is considering the responses received.

Broadband Infrastructure

Questions (43)

Carol Nolan

Question:

43. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will request that National Broadband Ireland to escalate the required survey for fibre broadband delivery for homes serviced by the R51 R647, R51 X326 and R51 RX90 roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57714/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Question refers to premises located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led intervention.

I appreciate people's frustration when they are living so close to a fibre network but cannot get a connection to that network, particularly given the heightened importance of connectivity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The NBP will ensure that in all such cases a future proofed high speed broadband network will be built to serve these premises and work to deliver on this is underway. 

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) that, as of 12 November, over 277,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed or have surveys underway and over 125,000 premises have build currently underway. NBI has also advised that the first premises are connected in Cavan, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Monaghan and over 30,000 premises are available to order and pre-order across 12 counties. Surveys are complete or underway in County Offaly in the areas around Brosna, Shinrone, Mount Heaton, Clonbrennan and Boherapucha Townlands and areas close to the county boundary with Tipperary. Surveys are also underway in the Moate Deployment Area. I understand that there are some 1,500 premises in County Offaly with build works currently underway.

Further details are available on specific areas within County Offaly through the NBI website which provides a facility for any premises within the Intervention Area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website www.nbi.ie. Individuals who register with this facility will receive regular updates on progress by NBI on delivering the network and specific updates related to their own premises as works commence. NBI has a dedicated email address, reps@nbi.ie, which can be used by Oireachtas members for specific queries. NBI has recently published details of its full deployment schedule on its website which enables all premises within the intervention area to have an anticipated service activation date range. Given the scale and complexity of delivery of the new high speed broadband network under the NBP, I am advised that any dates provided by NBI on its website are based on the best available information at the time and may be subject to change.

In addition to the challenges to the delivery of the NBP due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NBI has faced a range of other challenges due to the sheer scale and complexity of rolling out fibre to the home in a rural environment. These include significant tree trimming to ensure cable can be placed on overhead poles, remediation of ducting that has been in place for many decades, the co-ordination of hundreds of contracting crews and addressing the many issues arising week on week which could not have been foreseen until the build crews commenced work on the ground. My Department has worked closely with NBI to put in place a remedial plan under the Contract. This plan addresses delays experienced by NBI, primarily arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and re-baselines milestones for 2021. Work is underway to re-baseline milestones for 2022 and beyond. This has resulted in some changes to timeframes for connection for end users.

Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are a key element of the NBP providing high speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll out of the fibre to the home network. As of 12 November, 389  BCP sites have been installed by NBI and the high speed broadband service will be switched on in these locations through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly accessible sites and the Department of Education for school BCPs. BCP’s are installed at Irish Parachute Club (within 5.6km of all three premises referred to), Coolderry Community Hall, Croghan Community Hall, Seir Kieran Community Hall, Shannon Harbour, Primo Coaches, Ballycommon Telework and Training Centre, Kilclonfert Community Centre and Killavilla Community Centre. Further details can be found at nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.

Lumcloon National.School and Shinrone National School have been installed by NBI for educational access. My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise schools with no high speed broadband, within the Intervention Area, for connection over the term of the NBP. In this regard, an acceleration of this aspect of the National Broadband Plan was announced in December which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026.  Further details are available on the NBI website at nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/

Departmental Staff

Questions (44)

Carol Nolan

Question:

44. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if personnel in his Department have been removed from their positions, have been transferred to another role or had their employment terminated from 2011 to date due to breaches of Departmental standards or professional misconduct or incompetence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57897/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour and the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 set out clear expectations of the standards required for staff in their conduct and discharge of duties.

I can confirm that from 2011 to date, no staff member in my Department has been removed from their position or transferred to another role due to breaches of standards or professional misconduct or incompetence.

Inland Fisheries

Questions (45)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

45. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will provide an update on the development of the new policy and regulatory framework for inland fisheries in Ireland; the way in which stakeholders and the wider public will be involved in developing this framework; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58021/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

A number of draft policy papers are currently being finalised in my Department in the context of creating a new modern policy framework for the inland fisheries sector with a focus on protection and conservation. These will be the first of a range of papers to be submitted for public consultation and stakeholder inputs.In relation to consultation and contribution arrangements for stakeholders, I would refer the Deputy to the response to his Question (No. 46904/21) of 29 September last.

Departmental Data

Questions (46)

Pauline Tully

Question:

46. Deputy Pauline Tully asked the Minister for Transport the number of fines that were issued for persons parking illegally in disability parking bays in 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021; the number of fines that were issued in each of these years that were paid; the number of fines that were issued in each of these years that were not paid; the number of court proceedings that were commenced in each of these years against persons who did not pay the fines that they were issued with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57773/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

While my Department is responsible for the drafting of disabled parking regulations, the enforcement of these regulations is a matter for An Garda Síochána, local authority traffic wardens and, in the case of prosecution for non-payment, the Courts Service.

I cannot meet the Deputy's request as my Department does not hold the information concerned.

Public Transport

Questions (47)

Martin Kenny

Question:

47. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Transport the expenditure by his Department on providing private security for public transport by year, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57954/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport.

The issue raised is an operational matter for the operators of the public transport services, namely Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in respect of Luas, and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the companies for direct reply.

Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Departmental Funding

Questions (48)

Darren O'Rourke

Question:

48. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport the areas in which the €360 million in active travel funding will be spent in 2022, in tabular form; the amount from each Department that makes up the funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57665/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am pleased to confirm that my Department has been allocated funding totaling €360 million in Budget 2022 for Active Travel and Greenways.

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport and active travel; the National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including cycling and walking infrastructure and NTA allocates funding to projects identified by the local authorities working in cooperation with the NTA.

Over the coming weeks the NTA will be working to agree their programme allocations for the coming year as well as their allocations to specific Active Travel projects. Separately, Transport Infrastructure Ireland will determine which Greenway projects are funded in 2022.

Funding for cycling and walking infrastructure may also be allocated under schemes run by other Departments, e.g Urban and Rural Regeneration Funds and any such schemes are a matter for the relevant Minister.

Transport Policy

Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 49.

Questions (49, 50)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

49. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Transport the steps he is taking to legislate for the ban on the registration of fossil-fuelled cars and light vehicles from 2030 as per the Programme for Government commitment; the timeline for each of the steps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57666/21]

View answer

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

50. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Transport if the Government has notified the EU of its intention to ban fossil-fuelled cars and light vehicles; if the Government is seeking a derogation under EU law to this effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57667/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 50 together.

A national ambition has been firmly established that by 2030 all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will be zero-emission capable.

The European Commission have indicated that a complete ban of the marketing, import or registration of new ICE vehicles in a Member State is not compatible with EU law. The Treaty of the Functioning European Union (TFEU) and the Maastricht Treaty ban the imposition of unjustified barriers (quantitative or otherwise) on the sale/import of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State. The treaties do not preclude bans or restrictions on imports, exports or goods in transit justified on grounds of public morality, public policy or public security; the protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants; the protection of national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value; or the protection of industrial and commercial property. The conditions under which motor vehicles can be placed on the market in the EU have been harmonised through the EU’s internal market competence under Article 114 TFEU; in principle any vehicle meeting the requirements of the Type Approval Framework under Directive 2007/46/EC2 should be permitted to be sold anywhere in the EU.

Ireland was signatory to a non-paper to the Commission earlier this year requesting a phase-out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the EU in line with the objective of climate neutrality by 2050 as well as the introduction of a legal framework that allows Member States to move ahead by taking action at national level to incentivise early phase-out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. The paper can be viewed at www.permanentrepresentations.nl/permanent-representations/pr-eu-brussels/documents/publications/2021/03/10/non-paper---transition-to-zero-emission-light-duty-vehicles.

In addition, on Transport Day at COP26, I signed a sponsored declaration to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans. The declaration is an important signal of ambition at a global level. In line with our Programme for Government commitments, Ireland has even greater ambitions, targeting a switch over of one million electric vehicles by 2030 to bring us on a trajectory to achieving electrification of all new car sales well ahead of 2035

These declarations are consistent with Ireland’s ambitions to tackle transport emissions. They follow the recent publication of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) ’21 which outlines a pathway to a radical and equitable transformation in Ireland’s transport sector over the next nine years as it moves towards decarbonisation.

Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 49.

Road Safety

Questions (51)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

51. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport his plans for enhanced safety measures for the N8 lower Glanmire Road and Tivoli flyover in Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57683/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the operation, management and upgrading of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This is also subject to the Public Spending Code and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on any plans for enhanced safety measures for the N8 Lower Glanmire Road and Tivoli flyover in Cork .

Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Safety Authority

Questions (52)

Carol Nolan

Question:

52. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Transport if consideration has been given by the Road Safety Authority regarding the suspension of in-person vehicle and technical inspections of transport operators or businesses in view of concerns from some operators that this may increase the risk of acquiring Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57711/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing (CVRT) services have been classified as essential services as provided for under Part 2, Item 14(w) of the Schedule to the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 10) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 701 of 2020). Accordingly, testing is continuing as normal and all commercial vehicle testing centres are currently fully operational. There are no plans to suspend or interrupt the service at present.

I would reassure the Deputy that the Road Safety Authority has advised that detailed measures have been put in place by each individual CVRT test centre operator to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 and protect staff and customers who come to the testing centre.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that any vehicle with a valid Certificate of Roadworthiness (CRW) on or after 28 March 2020 has had their next test due date extended by 3 months. I understand that the Road Safety Authority has not issued revised CRWs for these vehicles but new CRW expiry dates/test due dates for applicable vehicles may be checked online by visiting www.cvrt.ie.

Greenways Provision

Questions (53)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

53. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport the date on which work will commence on the Leixlip to Maynooth section of greenway in view of the fact that it was due to commence in Q4 2021 and the estimated duration to completion and opening. [57840/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister, I have responsibility for the policy and overall funding in relation to Active Travel. The National Transport Authority, meanwhile, has responsibility for the allocation of funding to specific projects and oversight of their development, in cooperation with the local authorities themselves.

Noting their responsibility in this area, I have forwarded your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Departmental Staff

Questions (54)

Carol Nolan

Question:

54. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Transport if personnel in his Department have been removed from their positions, have been transferred to another role or had their employment terminated from 2011 to date due to breaches of Departmental standards or professional misconduct or incompetence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57909/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour is an important element of the overall framework within which my Department's staff are expected to work. The Code sets out the standards required of my staff in the conduct and discharge of their duties.

My staff are subject to continuous assessment of compliance with expected performance standards, through the probation system, in their first year of appointment or following promotion. My staff are subject to ongoing review of performance and compliance with standards through the Performance Management and Development System throughout their careers. For those staff whose behavior or performance at work does not meet the standards, they may be subject to appropriate action under the Civil Service Disciplinary Code.

Since 2011, 2 Department staff were reverted to a former grade and 1 staff member was dismissed when they did not achieve the appropriate performance standards during probation. In addition, 1 staff member resigned following the initiation of disciplinary proceedings and before those proceedings were concluded.

Road Safety Authority

Questions (55)

Bríd Smith

Question:

55. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Transport the reason the NTA requires taxi owners to remove the protective screening recommended by Covid-19 public health measures before they can pass the taxi suitability test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57910/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA), as the statutory regulator for the SPSV sector under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, has published information for the SPSV industry on COVID-19 which includes guidelines in relation to the installation of temporary dividing screens. This information is available on the NTA's website.

Given the role of the NTA as independent regulator, I have referred the Deputies' question to the Authority for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Driver Licences

Questions (56)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

56. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport the steps that are being taken to make the system for a person renewing their driver licence more user friendly; if there are plans to have this done online instead of the person having to present themselves to an NDLS centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57940/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

All applicants for a driving licence can apply online if they have a verified MyGovID account, which requires a public services card. Detailed information on how to apply for a driving licence, online or in person, is available on the National Driver Licence Service website at www.ndls.ie.

Public Transport

Questions (57)

Sorca Clarke

Question:

57. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Transport the steps his Department is taking to tackle antisocial behaviour on public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58033/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Anti-social behaviour is a broad societal issue that we are currently facing to which public transport is not immune, and passengers and those who work daily on board our trains, buses, trams, and in stations are most directly impacted by incidents which occur.

The safety and security of both public transport passengers and staff, including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour, are important matters that, first and foremost, must be managed by every public transport company, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, where appropriate. The National Transport Authority (NTA) is also engaged with public transport operators regarding the issue of anti-social behaviour.

My Department has been engaging regularly with the NTA and the three CIÉ companies, on the issue of anti-social behaviour and in relation to ensuring the safety of passengers and staff. In their responses, all three companies stressed their strong and close working relationships with An Garda Síochána in relation to these issues.

Furthermore, while I am of course concerned to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of all passengers and staff, the allocation of all Garda resources, including the manner in which Garda personnel are deployed, is solely a decision for the Garda Commissioner and his management team.

In relation to the action being taken to ensure the safety of transport workers and passengers, my Department has been advised by Iarnród Éireann that a joint Iarnród Éireann/Garda focus on public order and antisocial behaviour has been in place since May 2021. A particular focus has been across the Greater Dublin Area with emphasis on the DART, Northern Line and Heuston to Portlaoise services.

A new security monitoring centre, which is in operation since January 2021, has played a key role in targeting high risk locations. A text alert service is in place to enable customers to discreetly report anti-social behaviour incidents and allow security personnel and/or Gardaí to be alerted and dispatched as required to an incident. Iarnród Éireann's annual spend on security has risen from €3.7 million in 2016 to an expected spend this year of €5.2 million. This has led to an increase in security resources with up to 20 security teams operating daily on-board trains and in stations.

Transdev Dublin Light Rail, who operate the Luas network on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, employ 50 security staff. These staff are involved in maintaining safety and security on the Luas, along with enforcing the Luas bye-laws. They liaise with An Garda Síochána regularly as part of their work.

Both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have reported that the level of anti-social behaviour is relatively low on their services and noted a declining trend, which is positive.

The entire Dublin Bus fleet is fully fitted with CCTV cameras, with up to 10 internal cameras and two external cameras fitted on the more modern vehicles in the fleet. Each vehicle is equipped with a radio, which facilitates immediate contact to the Central Control Centre.

All of the company's buses are in radio contact with Central Control. Any instances of disruption or concerns around security are immediately reported and services are suspended as necessary. The company also has mobile inspectors in the city centre, who are available to attend incidents as required.

Dublin Bus operates a schools education programme, which involves educating young people about the importance of the bus in their lives and in their local communities. This has proven highly successful in encouraging young people to respect their bus and has assisted in the reduction of incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Bus Éireann has invested in extensive CCTV coverage throughout its fleet for the protection of passengers and staff and driver security screens are fitted to the entire low-floor, single-deck and double-deck bus fleet.

Emergency support for drivers is provided through 24-hour control centres and any incidents of anti-social behaviour are fully investigated and followed up with An Garda Síochána as required.

The measures in place and those planned are yielding and will continue to yield results, however this is an issue which will require continuing joint action.

As Minister, I will continue to work collectively with all stakeholders to ensure the safest possible travel environment for members of the public, and safest possible working environment for the employees providing our valuable public transport services.

Tax Data

Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 58.

Question No. 60 answered with Question No. 58.

Questions (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63)

Michael Ring

Question:

58. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the total tax take on the purchase of a standard one litre petrol driven car retailing at €20,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57765/21]

View answer

Michael Ring

Question:

59. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the total tax take on the purchase of a standard one litre diesel driven car retailing at €20,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57766/21]

View answer

Michael Ring

Question:

60. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the total tax take on the purchase of a standard one litre LPG driven car retailing at €20,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57767/21]

View answer

Michael Ring

Question:

61. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the total tax take on the purchase of a standard 1.6 litre petrol driven car retailing at €33,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57768/21]

View answer

Michael Ring

Question:

62. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the total tax take on the purchase of a standard 1.6 litre diesel driven car retailing at €33,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57769/21]

View answer

Michael Ring

Question:

63. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the total tax take on the purchase of a standard 1.6 litre electric driven car retailing at €33,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57771/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 to 63, inclusive, together.

I assume the Deputy is referring to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). VRT is paid at the time that a vehicle is registered in the State. It is not possible to provide the requested breakdown as the rate of VRT is determined by a vehicle’s CO2 and NOx emissions, not engine size. Revenue’s website have a VRT calculator which can be used to determine the tax on vehicles: www.ros.ie/evrt-enquiry/vrtenquiry.html?execution=e1s1.

Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 58.
Question No. 60 answered with Question No. 58.