Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (517)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

517. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2018 area of natural constraints payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5703/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied for the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme on 23 April 2018. The processing of this application has now been completed, and payment will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named shortly.

Horse and Greyhound Fund

Ceisteanna (518)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

518. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on subsidies to industries which promote gambling and its consequences (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5730/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under Section 12 of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001 (No.20 of 2001), the horse and greyhound racing industries receive financial support from the State through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund (the Fund). In the period 2001 to 2018 a total of €1.2 billion has been paid from the Fund in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Monies are paid out of the fund in the ratio of 80% to Horse Racing Ireland and 20% to Bord na gCon as specified in Section 12 (6) of the Act. State funding provided through the Fund is pivotal to the survival of the horse and greyhound racing industries. €84 million has been provided under the Fund for 2019.

Horse Racing Industry

The 2017 Deloitte Report into the Economic Impact of Irish Breeding and Racing, commissioned by HRI, indicates that the total direct and stimulated expenditure of the Irish breeding and racing industry is estimated at €1.84 billion in 2016. In addition, it is estimated that there are 15,200 jobs at the core of the racing and breeding industry or in directly related industries. These jobs are based in rural areas and underpin the health of the rural economy.

Greyhound Racing Industry

A report by Economist Jim Power in November 2017 calculates there are 5,058 full and part-time jobs within the sector, with in excess of 7,000 greyhound owners deriving economic benefit from the industry. The national industry contributes around €300 million to the Irish economy. The industry also has an important social impact on thousands of people, particularly in rural areas.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (519)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

519. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures he is taking to address the considerable carbon admissions resulting from agriculture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5731/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (2014) and the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 refer to a long term vision for the agriculture, forestry and land use sectors based on: “an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land use sector, including forestry, that does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production”.

With what is internationally recognised as one of the most carbon efficient systems of food production in the EU, there are inherent challenges affecting climate emission reductions in the sector.

While agriculture is contributing to emissions, it is also part of the solution. There are three strands to my Department’s approach to this:

- Abatement: reducing emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide from the agriculture sector in so far as it is possible;

- Sequestration: increasing carbon sequestration through forests and land use;

- Displacement and substitution: displacing fossil fuel and energy intensive materials with renewable energy sources.

My Department and agencies are actively engaged with the farming sector on a large range of measures and actions focused on the environment and climate, which support the continued transition towards a low carbon economy and society.

Measures such as the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) are aimed at lowering the intensity of GHG emissions by improving the quality and efficiency of the national beef herd. Our Agri-Environment Scheme, GLAS supports farmers to implement actions such as the use of Low Emission manure application technology whilst our Capital Support Scheme, the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) also supports investment in technology and infrastructure to make agriculture more carbon efficient. Other initiatives such as Origin Green, Quality Assurance schemes and Knowledge Transfer Schemes also contribute to lowering the carbon footprint of the sector.

In terms of sequestration our most significant intervention is the national afforestation programme. Afforestation and forests also play a key role in replacing energy intensive materials and providing sustainable renewable biomass to the energy sector. My Department are therefore, investing heavily in the Afforestation Scheme to encourage landowners to establish forests on their land. The Government has recently approved significant improvements in grant and premium rates under the agro forestry and forestry for fibre options.

Lastly, the third strand to our climate policy approach focuses on energy efficiency, energy provision from biomass and other agricultural products and on the use of wood products to substitute for materials associated with high levels of emissions such as steel, concrete and fossil fuels. The agriculture and forest sector is a significant contributor of low-carbon, bio-based materials at present and is primed to play a central role in the expansion of the bio economy. My Department is actively supporting this through funding research and development and value the efforts of other Departments and Bodies in seeking green, sustainable solutions to meeting our resource needs.

My Department continues to review options that will enable our farmers to transition to a low carbon economy. The recently published Teagasc report “An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030” is key to informing the type of measures we need to focus on into the future to continue to reduce the carbon footprint of the sector.

Fur Farming

Ceisteanna (520)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

520. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a ban on fur farming will be introduced here in 2019 (details supplied). [5732/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has statutory responsibility for the welfare and protection of farmed animals under the European Communities (Welfare of Farmed Animals) Regulations, 2010(Statutory Instrument No 311/2010) and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. Irish fur farmers are, in this regard, subject to the same animal welfare legislation as other livestock farmers.

A review of all aspects of fur farming in Ireland was commissioned in November 2011. The terms of reference of the Review Group were:

(i) To review fur farming in Ireland taking into account existing legislative provisions for the licensing of mink farming;

(ii) To comment on the economic benefits of the sector;

(iii) To consider the effectiveness of existing welfare controls, and

(iv) To make appropriate recommendations.

The Review Group invited submissions from the public and interested parties and considered over four hundred submissions which were received.

The Group concluded that it did not find the arguments in favour of banning the farming of fur animals in Ireland compelling and recommended that instead, fur farming be allowed continue under licence and subject to official control. I accept the findings of the review group and its recommendations.

On foot of the Review Group’s deliberations, my Department introduced more rigorous controls on licence holders in the areas of animal welfare, animal accommodation, security and nutrient management. Licensees are subject to regular inspections, including unannounced inspections by Department officials.

Notwithstanding the position in other countries, given the recommendations from the review group, there are no plans to introduce a ban on fur farming in this country.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (521)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

521. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 183 of 10 October 2018, if the matter raised has been investigated; and if so, if he will communicate the results of the investigation in relation to the person. [5733/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Department officials followed up on this matter with the Irish Greyhound Board, which has informed my Department that they conducted a full inspection of the named individual's premises and animals during the course of 2018. No welfare concerns were raised.

My Department will continue to work with the Irish Greyhound Board and monitor the situation.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (522)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

522. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the fact that greyhounds born here are continuing to end up in China which has no animal welfare laws; if the matter will be investigated; and if action will be taken against the greyhound owners involved. [5734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I am aware of reports of the export of greyhounds to China.

The vast majority of greyhounds that are moved from Ireland go to the UK. Information received from my Department's local offices indicates that no greyhounds were exported directly from Ireland to China in 2017 and 2018.

Under EU law, dogs moved to another EU country from Ireland must be accompanied by an EU pet passport, be microchipped, and have a valid rabies vaccination.

The premises exporting dogs must be registered with my Department in advance of the export. Before travel, dogs must undergo a clinical examination by an authorised veterinarian, who must verify that the animals show no obvious signs of disease and are fit to be transported. Dogs must also have a health certificate issued by a Department veterinarian. These procedures, including vaccination, ensure that only healthy dogs, over the age of 15 weeks, are allowed to be exported.

Exporters must also comply with EU law on the protection of animals during transport, while the transport of animals by air is also governed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations. In this context, I am aware that a number of airlines do not transport commercial consignments of greyhounds.

The welfare of greyhounds is regulated by the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act of 2013. The latter applies to all animals, whether kept for commercial, domestic, sport, show or other purposes. It contains robust measures against the ill-treatment of animals.

The Greyhound Racing Bill 2018, once enacted, will add to existing legislation, making the greyhound the most regulated of all canine breeds in Ireland. The Bill ensures that the principles of good governance and regulation are clearly and unambiguously laid down in primary legislation. In broad terms the Bill seeks to address deficiencies in the existing legislation and the governance of Bord na gCon. It will strengthen regulatory controls in the industry, modernise sanctions and improve integrity with a view to building a reputation for exceptional regulation in the sector.

My Department has a close working relationship with animal welfare charities on all aspects of animal welfare. Officials of my Department meet regularly with welfare members of the International Greyhound Forum, which includes the Dogs Trust, the ISPCA and Bord na gCon, to consider issues surrounding the export of greyhounds.

Bord na gCon has stated that it is opposed to exports to countries that do not meet Ireland’s welfare standards. I fully endorse this view.

Horse Racing Industry

Ceisteanna (523)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

523. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures put in place by his Department and an organisation (details supplied) to ensure that no devices such as one publicised in Australia recently are being used in tracks or horse trainers premises here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As from 1 January 2018, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board is the regulatory body for all horse-racing in Ireland. The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) is a company limited by guarantee set up by the Turf Club (established 1790) and the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee (established 1866) for the purpose of carrying out the regulatory and licensing functions for Irish horse-racing.

This body is responsible for protecting the integrity and reputation of Irish horse-racing in Ireland. The role was previously carried out by the Turf Club and the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee. The role of the IHRB is provided for under the Irish Horse Racing Act 2016 and subsequent Statutory Instruments.

The issue which the deputy has raised is an operational matter for the IHRB. The IHRB have informed me that over 3,000 inspections have been carried out at Trainers’ premises over the last 30 years by its predecessors and itself. During this time they have found no evidence and received no reports that the devices referred to by the Deputy are in use in Ireland.

The IHRB would regard the used of such devices as extremely serious and any Trainer found using such devices will be dealt with accordingly under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules.

Animal Welfare

Ceisteanna (524)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

524. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether fox hunting is unacceptable here (details supplied); and if legislation will be introduced to outlaw same. [5736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The deputy will be aware detailed debate was held around the issue of hunting during the passage of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the Dail voted overwhelmingly to allow the continuation on fox hunting in accordance with an appropriate Code of Conduct.

The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requires persons to ensure that animals being hunted are not subject to unnecessary suffering and specifically prohibits the hunting of animals which have been released in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition.

Section 25 of the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 also allows for the establishment of codes of practice and for the adoption of codes published by other persons for the purposes of providing practical guidance relating to any aspect of the Act, including fox hunting. Voluntary codes of practice have been established by The Hunting Association of Ireland which detail the conduct to be adhered to in respect of the hunting of foxes and the treatment of the animal during the hunt. The Code prohibits the hunting of foxes where the animal is injured and advocates the humane disposal of a fox when captured. The code also takes into account local concerns and the concerns of the landowner(s) on whose land hunting takes place. I can confirm for the Deputy that officials of my Department meet with the Hunting Association of Ireland from time to time to review the operation of the existing Code.

I can also confirm that I have no plans to change the existing legislation.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (525)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

525. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2018 area of natural constraints payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5754/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme on 15 February 2018.

Under the Terms and Conditions of the 2018 ANC scheme applicants must comply with stocking density requirements, one of which is to retain an annual average stocking density on their lands for the scheme year. The person named has failed to comply with this requirement.

An official from my Department has recently written to the person named advising of this position and requesting him to send in any relevant further relevant information.

Landfill Sites

Ceisteanna (526)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

526. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of expressions of interest to tender for the remediation of Kerdiffstown landfill, Naas, County Kildare received by Kildare County Council by the closing date of 31 January 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5016/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I understand that Kildare County Council has extended the deadline for submission of expressions of interest to tender to 14 February 2019. The extension was granted on foot of requests for more time made on the eTenders procurement website.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (527)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

527. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the provision of broadband services to Ballymore, County Westmeath, will cover the townland of Rathskeagh including a property (details supplied). [5083/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Under a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017, eir is in the process of passing 300,000 predominantly rural homes with high speed broadband. According to data for Q3 2018 submitted by eir to my Department the company has passed almost 210,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment. Information on eir's rural deployment is available on that company’s website at

http://fibrerollout.ie/Eircode-lookup/.

A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website, www.dccae.gov.ie.

The deployment of infrastructure in the village of Ballymore, as referred to by the Deputy, is part of this deployment.

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of a Commitment Agreement signed between the company and my Department, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity. The selection of what premises are to be served under eir’s deployment is a commercial decision for that company.

The approximately 19 premises in the townlands of Rathskeagh upper and lower, including the one referred to by the Deputy, are in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie.

The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process. As such, they are not included in eir’s rural fibre deployment.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. My priority is to bring the procurement process to a fair and impartial conclusion as quickly as possible and I will bring a recommendation to Government in this regard in the coming weeks.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (528)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

528. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the detail of the objective as set out in the strategy (details supplied) regarding the Statement of Strategy 2016 - 2019 of his Department; the revisions he planned or plans to negotiate; the stage these negotiations are at in relation to EU waste legislation; the detail of the EU legislation concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5084/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The negotiations referred to by the Deputy were in relation to amending Directives introduced by the EU as part of a Circular Economy Legislative Package. The legislative amendments form one element of the EU’s overarching policy statement on the Circular Economy, ‘Closing the Loop’, published at the end of 2015. The Directives amended were:

- Waste Framework Directive

- Packaging and Waste Packaging Directive

- Landfill Directive

- Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

- Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive

- End of Life Vehicles Directive.

Negotiations on these directives concluded in early 2018 and the amending directives were published in June 2018. The transposition deadline for these directives is June 2020.

My department is now examining how the legislative changes can be given effect in our national waste management laws. The Directives introduce challenging new targets for all Members States in the relation landfill waste reduction and increased recycling and recovery of waste packaging. They also expand the obligations on producers for taking responsibility for the end use of their products. The outcome of these negotiations, though challenging in certain aspects for Ireland, will form a basis for future waste management policy in Ireland and achieving compliance with the new Directives will be a policy priority.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (529)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

529. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the annual cost of permits either on average or as a scale under the national waste management policy; the amount spent on inspections of waste collection operators; the amount of this cost borne by permit fees; and the amount of this cost borne by the State in each of the years 2008 to 2018. [5085/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The fee payable to apply for a waste collection permit is €1,000, €2,000 or €5,000 depending on whether the application is to collect waste in a single local authority functional area, a regional waste management area or nationally, as set out in Regulation 8 and the Third Schedule to the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007, S.I. 820 of 2007 (as amended). Waste collection permits are normally granted for a period of 5 years, but may be reviewed at any time by the National Waste Collection Permit Office (NWCPO). Fees relating to such reviews cannot exceed the costs reasonably incurred by the NWCPO and cannot exceed €5,000. Fees under S.I. 820 of 2007 are designed to cover the administration of the permit, not the enforcement of the conditions of the permit, which remains a matter for the relevant local authority and as such, details concerning inspection costs are not collated by my Department.

Air Pollution

Ceisteanna (530)

John Lahart

Ceist:

530. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the regulations in place governing the burning of wood in domestic fires; if wood burning is classified as a pollutant; his plans to ban the burning of wood domestically; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5104/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

All smoke, including smoke from wood burning, contains a range of toxic pollutants including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that impact on health. While, there is no set of legislation that specifically addresses smoke from wood burning, Section 26 of the Air Pollution Act gives local authorities powers to serve a notice on the occupier of any premises in order to prevent or to limit air pollution from that premises.

It is a matter for a Local Authority to exercise its judgement in any individual case as to whether a nuisance is being caused and, if so, what abatement action is required. It should be noted that this section applies equally to all sources of emissions to air, including the burning of substances other than wood.

There can be a big variation in the quality of wood sold in Ireland. Purchasing cheap low quality fuel may prove to be a false economy as much of the energy is needed to burn off excess moisture in the wood rather than providing heat output to the consumer; and the reduced combustion temperature can result in the increased generation of toxic and carcinogenic air pollutants including Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) as well as dioxins which are promoted by the high chlorine levels in the fuel. While there are no statutory regulations for biomass quality, a voluntary Wood Fuel Quality Assurance scheme is in place.

In relation to air pollution more generally, recent scientific evidence indicates that it is more damaging at lower concentrations than was previously understood. With this in mind, I am committed to bringing forward Ireland's first ever National Clean Air Strategy. The Strategy, which I intend to publish this year, will provide the policy framework necessary to identify and promote integrated measures across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives. Domestic solid fuel use will be addressed in the context of the strategy.

Inland Fisheries Ireland

Ceisteanna (531, 533)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

531. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason an application by a person (details supplied) for eel compensation has not issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5461/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Peter Burke

Ceist:

533. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when letter of offers will issue to applicants to the eel hardship fund; the timescale in which they should receive payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5484/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 531 and 533 together.

The Eel Support Scheme is being administered by inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Correspondence issued from IFI in the first instance to applicants whose applications were deemed not to meet the criteria for the Support scheme. This was to facilitate possible appeals to the decision of IFI as regards eligibility or other matters. I will be extending the deadline for the receipt of appeals to 5.00 p.m. on Friday 22 February 2019.

I am advised by IFI that individualised letters of offer to applicants deemed eligible, based on individual verification of the records held by the State in respect of each applicant, are being issued. A key element of offers is to outline clearly the need for recipients to comply with all Revenue requirements and to make the appropriate tax return to the Revenue Commissioners.

Payment can issue to any individual applicant once the applicant communicates, in writing, formal acceptance of the offer and confirmation of undertaking to adhere to the conditions of the scheme and the letter of offer. I understand, therefore, that payment dates are likely to vary based on the response of each applicant.

I am not in a position to comment on any individual’s personal financial arrangements.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 533 answered with Question No. 531.

Ceisteanna (532)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

532. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether permission to build permanent infrastructure for fossil fuel storage, such as the Shannon LNG project, will lock Ireland into dependence on fossil fuel imports in conflict with transition objectives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5472/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I have announced the preparation of an All of Government Climate Action Plan which when complete will set out how we can make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. The plan will build on existing policy and will focus action across Government in all sectors of the economy that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The National Mitigation Plan, published in July 2017, restates the Government’s commitment to move from a fossil fuel-based electricity system to a low-carbon power system. Investment in further renewable generation will be incentivised.

The new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, the high level design of which was approved by government in July 2018, will provide for a renewable electricity ambition of 55% by 2030. Currently, 30% of our electricity is generated from renewables.

In all projected transitions to a low carbon economy by 2050, gas will continue to play a role. It plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the power generation, industrial and commercial, residential and transport sectors by replacing more CO2 intensive fossil fuels. In Ireland gas powered generation also provides an important back-up for intermittent renewable wind generation.

So while gas usage will reduce significantly in the years ahead, Ireland will still need secure sources of gas. At present this is provided by both gas piped on shore from Irish gas fields and imports through gas pipelines from the UK.

The development of an LNG facility could further enhance Ireland’s gas security of supply by increasing import route diversity and would be compatible with the State’s commitments to tackle climate change.

Ireland’s energy policy is fully aligned with the EU’s climate and energy objectives on the transition to decarbonisation, which includes continuous and on-going review of policies to reduce harmful emissions, improve energy efficiency, incentivise efficient and sustainable infrastructure investment, integrate markets, and promote research and innovation while ensuring our energy security of supply is maintained and enhanced.

Question No. 533 answered with Question No. 531.

Environmental Protection Agency

Ceisteanna (534)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

534. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is satisfied that sufficient safeguards are in place at a plant (details supplied) to ensure that the red mud ponds there will not leak into either the River Shannon or the wider environment. [5562/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The facility in question operates under an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licence granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The monitoring and enforcement of conditions attaching to IPPC licences are a matter for the EPA and I am precluded from exercising any power in relation to the performance by the EPA of its licensing functions in specific cases under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, as amended.

A copy of the relevant IPCC licence is available on the EPA website at www.epa.ie.

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Ceisteanna (535)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

535. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the value of grants disbursed by the SEAI under categories (details supplied) in 2017 and 2018. [5605/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Better Energy Homes scheme is funded by my Department and is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The scheme offers cash grants to all homeowners whose homes were built and occupied before 2006. The grants offered cover a range of works, including wall and attic insulation, heating controls and the installation of renewable technologies.

In 2018 the Better Energy Homes scheme was expanded to include grants for Heat Pumps and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels. The cut-off date for eligibility for these grants is for homes built prior to 2011.

The following table details the amount of grant funding spent on energy efficiency measures under this scheme for 2017 and 2018.

Value of grants

2017

2018

Heat pump systems (incl. Technical Assessment)

N/A

57,500

All insulation

8,323,413

8,647,574

Heating controls (including those paid in conjunction with fossil fuel boilers)

5,312,459

6,609,314

Solar thermal

2,008,750

1,125,000

Solar PV

N/A

125,350