Departmental Policy Reviews

Ceisteanna (71)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

71. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to commission a study to examine the feasibility of the re-nationalisation of a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7480/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I assume the Deputy is referring to the ownership of eir in the context of recent discussions on the State led intervention under the National Broadband Plan.

As the Deputy is aware, Eir is a privately owned company operating in a fully liberalised commercial market since 1999. It is regulated by the independent Commission for Telecommunications Regulation, ComReg. I have no statutory role or function in relation to the commercial decisions of any of the private operators in the market, including eir.

I have no plans to commission a study of the nature referred to by the Deputy.

Exploration Licences Data

Ceisteanna (72)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

72. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the new applications to his Department that are pending a decision or for which a decision has been made for a licence, undertaking or lease for the exploration and so on of petroleum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7483/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

With regard to applications for petroleum authorisations, the Irish Offshore is divided into 'Open Areas' and 'Closed Areas'. In Open Areas, such as the Celtic and Irish Seas, applications for licensing options or exploration licences may be made at any time. In Closed Areas such as the Atlantic Margin, applications for licensing options or exploration licences may only be made during a Licensing Round. The Irish Onshore is also closed for applications. Lease undertakings and petroleum leases represent follow-on authorisations to an exploration licence.

In respect of applications for a new petroleum authorisation, two applications for licensing options in the Celtic Sea are currently under consideration.

In respect of applications for a follow-on authorisation to an existing authorisation, twelve applications to convert existing licensing options awarded under the 2015 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round to frontier exploration licenses are under consideration. In addition, three applications to convert an existing exploration licence to a lease undertaking are also under consideration. There are no applications on hand for a petroleum lease.

Details of all petroleum authorisations granted are published on my Department's website www.dccae.gov.ie on a quarterly basis. In addition, I am required to lay before the Oireachtas under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960 half yearly reports detailing all petroleum exploration authorisations granted during the period of the report. The last such report under this Act was in respect of the six-month period ending 31 December 2017. 

Post Office Network

Ceisteanna (73)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

73. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date by which he will publish An Post's strategic plan for the future of the post office network; if he is satisfied with the implementation of the An Post business network development group report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7466/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Strategic Plan referred to in the Question is An Post’s Strategic Plan and publication of same is a matter for An Post. Government was briefed on the plan in November last.

The strategic plan harnesses the company's existing strengths such as its nationwide reach, trusted brand and the relationship of postmasters with communities, both rural and urban. At the same time, An Post has recognised that it must embrace the digital agenda and this is reflected in the plan, especially in the emphasis on growing the parcels business. In line with the recommendations of the Post Office Network Business Development Group Report, enhanced banking services are becoming available through the post office network with the smart bank account. Government has also committed to exploring the potential for extra Government business, including motor tax, to be channelled through the network and my Department is engaging with other relevant Government Departments in this regard. In addition an initiative called “Digital Assist” will use the local post office as a digital gateway for Government business and will be initially rolled out as a pilot initiative across the country.

Discussions on the future of the post office network are a matter for An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union. I understand discussions are ongoing between both parties and I continue to encourage the parties to work closely to find an agreed solution to the renewal of the network. I understand that these discussions are to, among other things, take account of the recommendations of the Post Office Network Business Development Group.  

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (74)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

74. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the significant number of households and businesses waiting on the national broadband plan in counties Cavan, Monaghan and Meath and of the negative impacts this is having on daily lives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7420/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I am very much aware that there are significant numbers of homes, businesses, farms and schools throughout the country awaiting connection to high speed broadband and I understand peoples frustration and the challenges they face in this regard. As I have said many times, delivering high speed broadband to each of these premises is a personal commitment from me and remains a key priority of Government. The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.

 The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland now have access to high speed broadband.  By the end of this year that number will rise to nearly 8 out of 10 premises and by 2020, 9 out of 10 premises or 90% of premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This will be achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

The High Speed Broadband Map on my Department's website https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/topics/Broadband/national-broadband-plan/high-speed-broadband-map/Pages/Interactive-Map.aspx is colour coded and searchable by address/eircode:

- The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP and are the subject of an ongoing procurement process. 

- The BLUE represent those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services. 

- The LIGHT BLUE areas represent eir's commercial rural deployment plans to rollout high speed broadband to 300,000 premises by the end of this year as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department last April.

The following table outlines the number of premises in Cavan, Monaghan and Meath which fall into these categories.

County Name

Total Premises

AMBER % Premises within the NBP Intervention Area

BLUE % Premises within Commercial Operator’s Area

LIGHT BLUE premises planned rural deployment

Cavan

41,990

16,938(40%)

18,812(45%)

6,240(15%)

Monaghan

32,939

15,654(47%)

13,769(42%)

3,516(11%)

Meath

83,572

19,222(23%)

56,679(68%)

7,671(9%)

  My Department is in a formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area. That procurement process is now at an advanced stage and when the procurement process reaches a satisfactory conclusion for Government, a contract will be awarded and the network rollout will commence.

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

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

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (75, 78)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

75. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of his commitment to provide high speed broadband to each house and business in County Donegal; the deadline for same; the number of homes and business which have access to high speed broadband; the number of additional homes and businesses which received access to high speed broadband in 2017; the number which will receive access in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7333/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

78. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the impact that a company (details supplied) pulling out of the national broadband plan tender process will have on the commitment to provide high speed broadband to every house and business in County Donegal; the number of homes and businesses which currently have access to high speed broadband; the number of homes and businesses which received access to high speed broadband in 2017; the number which will receive access in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7298/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 78 together.

Delivering high speed broadband to every home, every business, every farm and every school in Ireland is a personal commitment for me and remains a key priority of Government.

Currently just over 55,000 or 55% of the approximately 101,000 premises in County Donegal have access to a high speed broadband service. Every single one of the remaining 46,000 (46%) premises that lack this service will be served under the Government's National Broadband Plan; some 12,000 by commercial investment, the remaining 34,000 by the planned State led intervention.

In April 2017, I signed a Commitment Agreement with eir in relation to its plans to provide high speed broadband to 300,000 premises in rural areas on a commercial basis. eir has reconfirmed this committment to completing the rollout by the end of this year.  Information on eir's planned rural deployment is available at http://fibrerollout.ie/eircode-lookup/.  A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.  In the period to Q3 2017, over 14,100 premises in County Donegal were passed by eir's rural deployment.  

Quarterly updates on eir's rural deployment are published on this website. Although deployment figures for Q4 2017 have not yet been verified by my Department’s teams, I understand eir has passed a national total of 121,000 premises of the 300,000 eircodes identified by eir. 

My Department is in a formal procurement process to engage the company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network to those premises in the State intervention area who will not be covered by private investment. My Department’s specialist NBP procurement team will continue to engage intensively with all the relevant stakeholders in the process, including the sse/enet consortium, to ensure the earliest possible achievement of the Government’s objective of providing reliable high quality, high speed broadband to every home, farm and business across the country. My Department will also engage with the bidder to ensure the most efficient deployment as part of any contract. 

When the procurement process reaches a satisfactory conclusion for Government, a contract will be awarded and the network rollout will commence. Through the said combination of commercial investment and State led intervention the National Broadband Plan has already provided a high speed broadband connection to thousands of homes around the country, ensuring that today, 7 out of 10 Irish premises can access this vital service. By the end of this year this will be almost 8 out of 10 and by 2020, 9 out of every 10 premises in this country will have a high speed broadband connection.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (76)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

76. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the new climate action offices and the way in which they plan to interact with local communities to mitigate against climate change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7472/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Adaptation Framework, which I launched in Sligo on 19 January 2018, sets out the context to ensure Local Authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into all local, regional and national policy making.

As a key action under the Framework, I also announced a funding commitment from my Department of €10 million over 5 years to establish four Local Authority Regional Climate Action Offices. This commitment recognises the significant obligation which has been placed on Local Government to develop and implement its own climate action measures, as well as the need to build capacity within the sector to engage effectively with climate change.

The Regional Climate Action Offices will be operated by a lead Local Authority in four different regions grouped according to shared climate change risks. The establishment of these offices will enable a more coordinated engagement across the whole of government and will help build on the experience and expertise which exists across the sector.

Through these offices the Local Authorities can play a crucial role in driving practical policy and behavioural changes within our communities to encourage both businesses and citizens to embrace the need for climate action. In addition, I also see the Regional Climate Action Offices as having a key role in helping to facilitate the National Dialogue on Climate Action at both regional and local level. The regional structure being established can provide a leadership role through, for example, Public Participation Networks, community groups, Local Enterprise Offices and environmental awareness programmes, to advance informed discussions across all areas of the national climate agenda.

Local Authorities, through the regional structure, are also very well placed to help future-proof our cities, towns and counties as the global climate changes.  In this regard Local Government has a central role in implementing the new National Planning Framework and National Development Plan (through the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies), which will help set our communities on a more sustainable pathway over the coming decades so as to ensure we achieve a low carbon and climate resilient future.

My Department is currently engaging with the Local Government Management Agency and regional lead authorities to advance the process in terms of establishing this regional structure as efficiently and effectively as possible, while also ensuring that proper oversight and governance arrangements are put in place for the years to come.

Post Office Network

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 75.

Ceisteanna (77)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

77. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the interaction he has had with an organisation (details supplied) on the future sustainability of the post office network. [7341/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post.  Operational matters relating to the company’s retail business, including the post office network, are matters for the Board and management of An Post. Nonetheless, I am acutely conscious of the value placed by communities in both rural and urban areas on services provided by post offices and am concerned to ensure the needs of those communities continue to be met. Government remains fully committed to a sustainable post office network which is a key piece of economic and social infrastructure for both rural and urban areas. Reflecting its commitment to sustaining a nationwide post office network and daily mails service, the Government recently made €30m available in State funding to An Post to support the renewal of the post office network and the continued fulfilment of a 5 day per week mails delivery service.

Discussions on the future of the post office network are a matter for An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union and I understand negotiations are ongoing between both parties. I have had engagement with both parties and I continue to encourage the parties to work closely to find an agreed solution to the renewal of the network.

I met with the IPU on the 10 April and 5 October 2017 and was interested to hear their perspective on how to renew what continues to be a very valuable resource for both urban and rural communities. 

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 75.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (79)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

79. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to proceed with the national adaptation framework to reduce the negative effects of climate change. [7344/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Adaptation Framework (NAF), which I launched on 19 January 2018, sets out the context to ensure Local Authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into all local, regional and national policy making.

The Framework does not identify specific locations or propose adaptation measures or projects in relation to sectors. Respecting the principle of subsidiarity, detailed adaptation measures will be developed across sectors and Local Government.

Under the Framework, seven Government Departments (or Agencies, where appropriate) with responsibility for twelve priority sectors are required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans in line with the requirements of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 and the policies laid out in the Framework.

Local understanding is also crucial to getting adaptation right and in this regard Local Authorities will be preparing their own adaptation strategies under the Framework. In publishing the Framework last month I also announced a funding commitment from my Department of €10 million over five years to establish four Local Authority Regional Climate Action Offices. This will underpin a risk-based approach to climate action at the local and regional level, and will provide a coherent and coordinated response to climate change, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation. The Regional Climate Action Offices will be operated by a lead Local Authority in four different regions grouped according to shared climate change risks.

Ireland already has a number of resources in place to assist with adaptation planning, including an online resource and guidelines for both key sectors and Local Authorities. Under the Framework the guidelines will be strengthened to support Local Authorities and sectors in preparing their adaptation strategies and plans respectively so as to ensure that a coherent and consistent approach to adaptation planning is adopted at national, regional and local levels.

In addition, and again under the Framework, I will be putting in place arrangements so as to further develop the online climate information platform, Climate Ireland, which provides tools to assist both sectors and Local Authorities in planning and prioritising adaptation actions.  While the  platform will provide operational support to the key sectors concerned, it will also serve as an educational and awareness resource for the private sector and civil society who also have a key role to play in enabling our climate resilient transition.

Adaptation planning is an iterative process with the NAF and the Sectoral Plans prepared under it to be reviewed at least once every five years in line with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. This will ensure that we adopt a dynamic approach to adaptation planning which is informed by the latest scientific evidence thus enabling Departments, Agencies and Local Authorities to modify or escalate adaptation actions as appropriate.

This week government will publish our new National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan, both of which are critically important to how we implement the NAF. Climate proofing our spatial planning processes and recognising the investments required to achieve climate resilience are key objectives under the NAF and this Government and my Department are committed to seeing that these objectives are met.

In the coming weeks I will be returning to Government to get approval for requesting the key sectors to start preparing their respective adaptation plans, thus initiating another key step in developing a whole-of-Government approach to how we will achieve climate resilience under this new statutory NAF.  

Nuclear Waste

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 42.

Ceisteanna (80)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

80. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on reports from Britain that the disposal of nuclear waste is being proposed on the island of Ireland; and his further views on this possible measure. [7404/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

There are presently no proposals to site a geological disposal facility for radioactive or nuclear waste on the island of Ireland.  Following previous unsuccessful attempts to identify a long-term geological disposal facility, the United Kingdom's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a consultation paper on how to better engage and represent communities across England and Northern Ireland in any future process to consider siting a geological disposal facility.  The consultation paper notes that “the process to identify and select a site for a geological disposal facility requires detailed technical work that is estimated to take around 15 to 20 years”.

  Even if a community proposal won public support in Northern Ireland, the final decision on whether there should be a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste there would be a decision for the Northern Ireland Executive as a whole, taking into account planning and environmental considerations.

The United Kingdom-Ireland Contact Group on Radiological Matters, comprising officials from United Kingdom and Irish Government Departments, and scientific agencies responsible for ensuring radiological safety, meet biannually to discuss matters of interest to both parties, including existing and planned installations, transport of radiological materials, and long-term strategies to safely store radiological and nuclear waste. Ireland will engage on this matter through this Group and continue to monitor developments in this area.

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 42.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (82)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

82. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the threat of offshore island depopulation and the need for high speed broadband to curtail this trend through new employment opportunities for offshore island dwellers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7410/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to deliver high speed broadband services to every city, town, village and individual premises in Ireland including those on our offshore islands.

I recognise the importance of availability of high speed connectivity for all premises in Ireland and fully appreciate the frustration felt by people, including those across Ireland's islands, who do not currently have access to this level of connectivity.  The vital broadband connections these people need to live, work and learn will be delivered by the National Broadband Plan, and more specifically in relation to Ireland's inhabited islands, via the State led intervention.

My Department is continuing the formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area and the procurement process is now at an advanced stage. 

Delivering high speed broadband to citizens across Ireland remains my firm commitment and that of the Government.

The practical issue of rollout across the country as a whole will be an important factor in the final contract negotiations between my Department’s specialist procurement team and the Preferred Bidder.

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

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen.  These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities.  The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure.  There is a link to a list of these local Broadband Officers on my Department's website which is available at http://www.ruralireland.ie/policies/national-broadband-plan/.

Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group

Ceisteanna (83)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

83. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of his Department's review of the functioning of the household waste collection system; the date by which he will provide an independent regulator for this market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7470/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I have established a Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group (PMG) to monitor the rates charged by household waste collectors and to date the PMG has met on five separate occasions, 13 September, 11 October, 14 November, 12 December and 9 January 2018, and has considered four months of pricing data trends. Statements by the PMG have been released on a monthly basis since November 2017 and are available on my Department's website, as are details of the role and membership of the group and the market analysis of the cost of household waste collection carried out by the group in December 2017.

  The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is an independent statutory body with a dual mandate to enforce competition and consumer protection law in Ireland. The CCPC is conducting a separate study on the operation of the household waste collection market. The CCPC has indicated that it hopes to finalise the study in 2018.

The results from the PMG will be monitored and analysed and in conjunction with the study being undertaken by the CCPC will provide an evidence base regarding the future monitoring or the potential need for additional regulation of the waste market.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (84)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

84. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the solutions he and the agencies under his remit have in place to tackle unemployment in rural areas in view of further delays with the roll-out of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7258/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband.  By the end of this year that number will rise to nearly 8 out of 10 premises and by 2020, 9 out of 10 premises or 90% of premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This will be achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

I fully recognise the importance of availability of high speed broadband connectivity to employment in rural Ireland and appreciate the frustration felt by people in rural areas who do not currently have access to this level of connectivity. 

My Department is continuing the formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area and the procurement process is now at an advanced stage. 

Delivering high speed broadband to citizens across Ireland remains my firm commitment and that of the Government.

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

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

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (85)

James Browne

Ceist:

85. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeframe for full implementation of the national broadband plan in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7398/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) will deliver high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to 100% of premises in Ireland.

  Today 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. Since this Government came into office almost 400,000 additional premises have access to high speed broadband.  By the end of this year nearly 8 out of 10 premises and by 2020, 9 out of 10 premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This is being achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

There are just under 32,000 premises in County Wexford which do not currently have access to a high speed broadband connection. Of these, over 10,000 will receive a high speed broadband connection via commercial investment by the end of 2018 under eir's ongoing 300k rural deployment, while the remaining circa 21,500 will be served via the planned State led intervention.

My Department is in a formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area. That procurement process is now at an advanced stage. The NBP procurement team in my Department will continue to engage intensively with all the relevant stakeholders in the process, including the sse/enet consortium which has reaffirmed its commitment to the procurement process.  My Department will continue to engage with the bidder to ensure the most efficient deployment as part of the contract. 

Based on the momentum of the eir rollout, I expect that the company that delivers the State led intervention, when it is up and running, can reach the vast majority of premises in the intervention area within 3 years of the commencement of rollout.

Delivering high speed broadband to every citizen in Wexford and every other county remains my firm commitment and that of the Government.

Waste Management Regulations

Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 62.

Ceisteanna (86)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

86. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which the cost of road impact and other impacts locally are factored into a company's licence in the context of licensing for landfills; if the amount and-or sum due for the provision of road impact is paid to the local authority; the amount by percentage that is factored into the cost of the licence for road and-or other impacts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7247/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Waste Management Act 1996 and the Waste Management (Licensing) Regulations 2004 govern the process under which waste licences are applied for and maintained. Once granted, each waste licence defines the nature of environmentally acceptable activities that can take place at a waste facility, including the acceptable types of waste that can be received. This is done by the conditions of the licence which are set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

It is a strategic objective of the Agency to ensure that sites with significant closure and aftercare costs, or with the potential for high liabilities arising from incidents, make financial provision to cover these liabilities. To that end, the Agency secures financial provision for liabilities at licensed facilities, including waste facilities, using a range of financial instruments including secured funds, bonds, parental company guarantees and insurance policies. The attachment of conditions relating to individual community gain funds to planning permissions is a matter for the statutory planning authorities and do not fall under my remit as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 62.

Electric Vehicles

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 26.

Question No. 90 answered with Question No. 88.

Ceisteanna (88, 90)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

88. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is satisfied that there are adequate eCars public charging points available; if not, his plans to increase the number of public charging points across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7475/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

90. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of eCars public charging points available; his plans to increase the number of public charging points across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7476/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 90 together.

The ESB, through its eCars programme, rolled out an extensive public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs). There are approximately 900 EV charge points in Ireland of which circa 70 are rapid chargers. A map showing eCars public charge points is available on the ESB’s website at www.esb.ie/ecars.  In addition to the charge points installed by ESB eCars, car manufacturers are also becoming increasingly involved in the provision of charging infrastructure. I understand that Nissan has a number of charge points available through its dealer network and Tesla provides charge points for its vehicles at two locations in Co. Laois and Co. Tipperary.  In addition, Lidl Ireland has installed chargepoints in a number of its car parks.

The National Policy Framework on the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland: 2017 to 2030 states that Ireland’s current EV charging network infrastructure is ahead of current market demand.  This is helped by Ireland’s capability for home charging being greater than that of other countries with approximately 80% of EV owners charging at home. However, it is imperative that the future development of the EV public charging progresses alongside the growth of Electric Vehicles. 

In Budget 2018 I secured additional funding to support both public and home charging.  A new grant scheme is now available to support the purchase and installation of home chargers and €1.8 million has been allocated to support public charging. The Low Emissions Vehicle Taskforce, which is co-chaired by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, is considering a range of options for effective and efficient EV charging. The key objectives are supporting the operation of the existing charging network and facilitating the expansion of the network, with a particular focus on increasing the number of fast chargers.  The Taskforce held a stakeholder workshop in November 2017 to explore issues related to the future requirements for the public charging infrastructure. This workshop included representatives of EV owners, the motor industry, local authorities and other key stakeholders. Valuable feedback was provided which will assist the Taskforce in devising a sustainable policy framework for effective and efficient electric vehicle charging.

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 26.
Question No. 90 answered with Question No. 88.