Common Fisheries Policy

Ceisteanna (2145)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2145. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the marine service level agreement with the EU is affected by the recent decision to dock Naval Service vessels and take them out of active service; his views on the recent docking; if he has discussed the matter with the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34386/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I would like to inform the Deputy that there is no service level agreement with the EU on fishery controls. Member States' obligations are set out in EU Regulations under the Common Fisheries Policy.

Responsibility for operational matters relating to sea fisheries control rests with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006. The SFPA advise that it has a Service Level Agreement with the Department of Defence in accordance with Section 43 (2)(a) of the 2006 Act to secure efficient and effective enforcement of sea fisheries law through the support provide by the Naval Service and Air Corps.

Under the 2006 Act, the SFPA are independent in the exercise of its functions and, accordingly, I have no remit over the operational activities of the control services of the SFPA, Naval Service or Air Corps.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (2146)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

2146. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ensure the flow of milk on the island in all Brexit scenarios. [34419/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

It remains the Government’s view that the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal, protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a hard border is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop. It is the only solution currently on the table that delivers the outcomes that everyone, including the UK, wants to achieve.

In the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement, there are no easy solutions. As the Action Plan says, “there should be no illusion – a no deal Brexit would result in far-reaching change on the island of Ireland”.

The Government is working closely with the European Commission to meet the shared twin objectives of protecting the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and avoiding a hard border, including physical infrastructure. This work is looking at necessary checks to preserve Ireland’s full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union.

In respect of imports of products of animal origin (including milk) from Northern Ireland, this Department has no plans for Border Inspection Posts on the border. In respect of exports of products of animal origin (including milk) to Northern Ireland, procedures will be determined by the UK which has set out its position in a series of Preparedness Notices. The notice referring to the importation of animals and animal products from the EU to the UK, last updated on 17th April 2019, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-of-products-animals-food-and-feed-system.

Ireland and the EU are at one on this. The EU has been clear that it is determined to do all it can, deal or no-deal, to avoid the need for a border and to protect the peace process.

Both the EU and the UK Government agree that no one has yet come up with any alternatives aimed at avoiding a hard border that are better than those set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The backstop remains the only viable solution on the table that avoids any physical infrastructure and related checks and controls, preserves the all-island economy, and fully protects the Good Friday Agreement, as well the integrity of the EU Single Market and Ireland’s place in it.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (2147)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

2147. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the impact that a no-deal Brexit will have on the movement of horses; the way in which this will impact the equine industry; the plans he will have in place if a no-deal Brexit comes to pass; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34469/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The current EU rules on the movement of equidae between EU Member States require that the animals being moved are inspected by an official veterinarian and accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued under the EU TRACES system and a horse passport issued by an approved horse passport issuing body.

However, these rules also allow Member States which have implemented alternative but equivalent health control systems in their respective territories, to grant one another derogations from the standard movement rules. The derogation provided for under Community rules on the movement of equidae is applicable to movements between EU Member States only. It is not inclusive of movements between the EU and Third Countries.

Currently, Ireland is part of a Tripartite Agreement (TPA), along with the UK and France which allows for the movement and trade of horses between the three countries without undergoing veterinary inspections and without health certificates. As the TPA is based on EU legislation on the movement of horses within the EU, the UK cannot be part of the Agreement once it becomes a Third Country.

When that happens, equine animals moving from the UK to the EU will have to be accompanied by health certificates. For certain categories of equine animals, there will be requirements to be resident for a minimum period in the country of origin (i.e. the UK) before export to the EU. The UK has stated, in a series of no-deal Brexit notices, that in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, the UK will not require horses moving from Ireland to the UK to be accompanied by health certificates. Requirements applicable to equine animals travelling between Ireland and the Continent via the UK Landbridge is currently subject to clarification by the Commission.

I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to engage with the Irish equine industry and the Commission in an effort to minimise the disruption that may result from changing requirements regulating the movement of horses post-Brexit. However, it should be recognised that these changes will have a significant impact on the industry.

GLAS Appeals

Ceisteanna (2148)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

2148. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a farmer (details supplied), who appealed a case more than 12 months ago and had an oral hearing more than four months ago, will receive a decision on the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34525/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Agriculture Appeals Office operates independently of my Department. I have been advised that the records of the Agriculture Appeals Office indicate that an appeal was received from the person named on the 19th October 2018 in respect of the GLAS Scheme and was assigned to an Appeals Officer.

The Department file was received in the Agricultural Appeals Office on the 13th November, 2018. An oral hearing of the appeal was held on 7th March 2019.

All of the facts of the case have been fully assessed, including any legal aspects, and a comprehensive decision letter issued by the Appeals Office on the 19th July, 2019.

Hazardous Substances Disposal

Ceisteanna (2149)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

2149. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on the status of the clean-up of a site (details supplied) in County Cork. [34529/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department assumed responsibility for remediation works at Haulbowline Island on behalf of the Irish Government in 2012 with a particular focus on bringing about compliance with the terms of a CJEU judgment (Case C-494/01) under the Waste Framework Directive concerning the East Tip site. Funding for the remediation project is currently provided to my Department, in accordance with the specific conditions set out by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, on an annual basis up to the completion date of the remediation works.

The East Tip works are the most significant element of the remediation project. In the period up to 2017, expenditure was focussed on preparing for and securing the necessary planning and waste licence consents for the East Tip remediation and upgrading the island infrastructure in anticipation of works. Following the signing of contracts in July 2017, the remediation works commenced and, in December 2018, I visited the site to see that the works had been substantially completed. Activity in 2019 to date has involved the resolution of minor finishing works and the completion of the access road to the site. I understand that works are due to be completed by mid-August.

While the priority has been remediation of the East Tip, work on assessing a suitable solution for the former steelworks factory site has also been advanced in preparation for the next phase of the remediation project. Detailed site investigations have been undertaken and the preparation of an application for planning consent has also been advanced. The Government has decided that the Minister for Defence will be the ultimate owner of Haulbowline Island, in keeping with the main occupancy of the island being the headquarters for the Irish Naval Service. Any remediation solution for these areas will need to be cognisant of their likely long term use.

The Department of Defence has advised that it has engaged specialist engineers to examine the areas in question in order to explore the potential of these areas for naval operations in the future which will inform and direct remediation works in the first instance. Information from site investigation studies and assessments to date has been made available to the Department of Defence to assist in this work.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (2150)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

2150. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the uptake of the various schemes available to agricultural and food businesses to prepare for Brexit, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34541/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I have introduced a number of supports to assist the agri-food sector in preparing to address the challenges posed by Brexit. These include:

Title of Scheme

Details

Take up (as of 22 July 2019)

Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme

- Developed in co-operation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)

- Funding of €150m

- cash flow support facility, providing farmers with a low cost, flexible source of working capital

- loan amounts up to €150,000 for up to six years at an interest rate of 2.95%

- scheme closed.

- Approximately 4,246 applications to the value of €145m

- Average loan size of €34,127

- average loan period of 41 months

Brexit Loan Scheme

- Joint DAFM/DBEI/Dept. of Finance/SBCI Scheme

- Funding of €300m

- Operable 28 March 2018 to 31 March 2020

- Loans of €25,000 to €1,500,000 per eligible enterprise

- Maximum interest rate of 4%, ranging from 1 year to 3 years,

- At least 40% available to food businesses

- Unsecured loans up to €500,000

- 628 applications approved

- 160 loans progressed to sanction at bank level

- total value of sanctioned loans is €35.7m

- 29 (with a value of €8.2m) relate to food businesses

Future Growth Loan Scheme

- Joint DBEI/DAFM Scheme

- Funding of €300m available since 17 Apr 2019

- Available to Irish businesses, including farmers and the agri-food & seafood sectors

- Applications submitted through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) since 17th April 2019

- 619 applications approved

- 53 loans pogressed to sanction at bank level

- total value of sanctioned loans is €7.9m

- 39 (with a value of €4.5m) relate to farmers and to one food business worth €280,000

In addition to the above schemes, my Department, in response to Brexit, has also initiated:

- a market prioritisation exercise undertaken by Bord Bia to identify priority markets across all food and drinks categories;

- tailored supports and analysis are being provided to food companies through Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer; and

- an intensified series of trade missions to develop and grow new markets.

I also have had on-going discussions with Commissioner Hogan regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit. The Commission have already made €50m available to Irish beef farmers as a response to market pressures, and this can be matched by national funding. I expect to be rolling out a support scheme with this funding in the very near future. I have also stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a further range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agri-food and fisheries sector. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.

And, of course, our practical preparations for all potential scenarios, including a no-deal Brexit, continue to be progressed and refined through the whole-of-Government coordination structures that have been in place for some time.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2151)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2151. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the expenditure by his Department on social media advertising and promotional material within the past year in tabular form. [34605/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Communications Division of my Department manages press relations, public information campaigns and social media on behalf of the Department.

My Department’s social media accounts are used to provide information about the work of the Department, including:

- Press Releases on the Department's activities and Ministerial speeches

- Information about new initiatives the Department has launched

- Event information (such as Knowledge Transfer events, conferences)

- Alerts about new content on our website

- Emergency communications – weather warnings, forest fire risk warnings

- Other practical information on services available through the Department

- Re-tweets from Department agencies, other Government Departments or Government Ministers

My Department has not undertaken social media advertising during the past year.

Trade Agreements

Ceisteanna (2152)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

2152. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he plans to address the impact of the Mercosur agreement on Irish agriculture; the degree to which it is proposed to challenge its contradictory aspects, such as deforestation in Latin America to make way for beef production for export globally, both of which will substantially increase carbon emissions, while Irish producers are expected to reduce carbon emissions and-or production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34645/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Following the conclusion of the headline political agreement of 28 June in the EU/Mercosur trade negotiations, the Deputy will be aware that An Taoiseach has requested the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to commission a full economic and sustainability assessment to measure its impact. My Department will assist in that exercise regarding the agricultural aspects.

The agreement includes a detailed chapter on Sustainable Development goals. The agreement recognises the need to address the urgent threat of climate change and the role trade has in this regard. It also underscores the importance of both Parties implementing the provisions of the Paris Agreement. It is fundamental that these provisions are adhered to by the Mercosur countries in order for the agreement to progress.

The legal scrubbing process will now commence which may take up to two years to conclude. Ireland will spare no effort during this process to ensure that the proposed safeguard mechanism, product segmentation, the management of TRQs through import licenses, the insistence that all Mercosur imports into the EU fully satisfy EU food safety and animal health requirements, and the commitments in relation to environmental sustainability, climate change and deforestation are set out in as much detail as possible, and in a way that maximises the protection afforded to the European agriculture sector.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (2153)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

2153. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons working in his Department on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour; the number disaggregated by professional role; and the estimated cost of increasing salaries of those on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour to a wage of €12.30 per hour. [34674/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The table outlines the number of staff employed by my Department who are earning a wage of less than €12.30 per hour, the relevant grades and the estimated total annual cost of increasing salaries to €12.30 per hour.

Staff earning less than €12.30 per hour

Grade No. of staff

Clerical Officer 150

Cleaner 2

Services Officer 7

General Operative 2

ICT Apprentice 1

Technical Agricultural Officer 104

Total: 266

The estimated additional annual payroll cost of increasing the salaries of these staff to €12.30 per hour is €783,500.

National Oil Reserves Agency

Ceisteanna (2154)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2154. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the expected impact on affected oil products measured by euro per tonne of CO2 emitted by raising the National Oil Reserve Agency, NORA, levy by 1 cent, 2 cent and 5 cent per litre, respectively. [31589/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

There are no plans to increase the NORA levy from its current rate of 2 cents per litre. As a result, no analysis has been conducted in terms of any decrease in CO2 emissions being generated by any such increase.

National Oil Reserves Agency

Ceisteanna (2155)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2155. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated revenue that would be raised by increasing the National Oil Reserve Agency, NORA, levy by 1 cent, 2 cent and 5 cent per litre, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31590/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The current rate of the NORA levy is 2 cent per litre, payable when oil is placed on the market. The levy was set at this rate in 2009. In 2018 the total levy amounted to €134m. A one, two and five cent increase in the National Oil Reserve Agency levy would, other things being equal, result in an estimated total levy raised of €201m, €268m and €469m respectively.

Electricity Generation

Ceisteanna (2156)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

2156. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the electricity needed to power electric vehicles will be generated from current methods, such as coal, oil and wind generated power; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31962/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In the recently launched All of Government Climate Action Plan, I have set a target of 70% for renewable electricity by 2030, to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.

The renewable electricity sector has undergone a considerable transformation over the last 10 years, with the share of renewable electricity generation more than doubling to 30.1% in 2017. However, we must step up the scale of our ambition even further in order to meet our climate ambitions. In order to meet the 70% RES-E target, major capital investment will be needed in new generation capacity, system service infrastructure and electricity transmission and distribution networks.

The Energy in Ireland 2018 Report which was published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in December 2018 sets out details of the proportions of electricity generated from oil, gas, coal, wind, solar or other renewable sources. Specific details on the technology mix are available in Table 8 “Growth rates, quantities and shares of electricity generated by fuel” on page 29 of the report.

Looking forward to the projected renewable electricity capacity needed to meet Ireland's energy and climate ambitions, EirGrid's “Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 (July 2017) maps out four possible future scenarios covering the years 2020 to 2040. EirGrid are currently updating this document and carrying out a consultation on the revised draft setting out a number of future electricity scenarios in line with the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (2157, 2163, 2181, 2190, 2262, 2263, 2264, 2266, 2267, 2268, 2269, 2271)

John Curran

Ceist:

2157. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of electric vehicle charging points in public spaces in the four Dublin local authorities; his plans to increase the number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32025/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2163. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans for local authorities to introduce charging points for electric vehicles on their properties nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31513/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

2181. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of charging points for electric vehicles in operation, by local authority area; the number of planned additional charging points, by the year in which they will be provided and by local authority area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31963/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2190. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of funding provided for the provision of public electric vehicle chargers and the number of public electric vehicle chargers developed in each year since 2011, by county, in tabular form. [32052/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2262. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of charge points that will be dedicated to Dublin from the €10 million provided to the ESB for the nationwide vehicle fast charging network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33366/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2263. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which the electric vehicle home charger grant for shared parking is expected to work in practice, for example, in apartment blocks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33368/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2264. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of regular charging points here; the number of fast charging points here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33370/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2266. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment where he anticipates electric vehicle fast charges to be located on street and in the context of public parking; the role he anticipates petrol stations to play in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33372/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2267. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of existing buildings that have already installed electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the context of the Climate Action Plan 2019; and if this is already included in the latest planning regulations for new builds. [33373/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2268. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to obligate the operators of private car parking facilities in Dublin city to provide electric charging facilities on their premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33378/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

2269. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce legislation to obligate operators of shopping centres and other public facilities, such as public and private hospitals, to provide electric charging points at their facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33379/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

2271. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans, and the timeframe, to provide electric vehicle charging points at the Houses of the Oireachtas and departmental offices in Dublin and nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33383/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos 2157, 2163, 2181, 2190, 2262 to 2264, inclusive, 2266 to 2269, inclusive, and 2271 together.

The All of Government Climate Action Plan, which I launched on 17 June this year, sets out a range of actions to support the delivery of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. These actions include:

- introducing a capital support that will be provided to Local Authorities for the development of on-street public chargers;

- commencing the ESB Electric Vehicle High Power Charging Infrastructure Development Project, supported by the Climate Action Fund;

- including electric vehicle fast chargers as a category eligible for support in the next call from Climate Action Fund;

- expanding the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant to include shared parking (e.g. in apartment blocks);

- developing and implementing planning rules and guidelines across residential and non-residential parking locations for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and

- developing an overarching charging infrastructure strategy with a target to be set for the supply of infrastructure to stay ahead of demand.

A Government grant of up to €600 is currently available, via the SEAI, to the purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles to support the installation of home chargers. Since the introduction of this scheme in January 2018, almost 1.5 million euro has been spent on grants to support the installation of 2,280 charge points in homes. This is in addition to home charge points (numbering more than 2,000) which were installed by ESB ecars prior to 2018.

There are currently over 650 standard public charge points and circa 80 fast chargers (the majority of which are operated by the ESB) in Ireland. A real-time map showing the charge point locations, including the status and availability of these charge points, is available on the ESB's website at www.esb.ie/ecars. The ESB has provided a breakdown by county of those chargers that they operate and is set out in the table:

Standard Charge Points

Fast Chargers

Donegal

30

2

Sligo

12

1

Leitrim

4

0

Mayo

20

2

Westmeath

18

3

Roscommon

18

2

Galway

28

3

Monaghan

10

1

Cavan

10

0

Longford

10

1

Meath

22

4

Louth

24

2

Dublin

150

14

Kildare

28

2

Offaly

14

0

Laois

12

2

Wicklow

26

3

Carlow

14

1

Wexford

26

4

Kilkenny

14

2

Tipperary

16

4

Waterford

26

1

Clare

16

2

Limerick

26

3

Cork

56

7

Kerry

28

1

In addition to these chargers operated by ESB ecars, there are public chargers provided by motor dealerships, local authorities, retail outlets and private companies.

The funding and rollout of electric vehicle charging points has been supported by a Commission for Regulation of Utilities decision to allow ESB Networks to invest and install electric vehicle infrastructure up to a maximum of 25 million euro and recover these costs from electricity network charges. The ESB has also invested its own funds in further developing, operating and maintaining the network.

Funding has also been provided from my Department to support the installation of electric vehicle chargers as part of the Better Energy Communities scheme. As the projects under this scheme involve a range of elements, the specific amount of funding allocated to electric vehicle chargers is not available.

I am in the process of increasing the level of investment in charging infrastructure. Under the first call for applications from the Climate Action Fund, I approved funding of up to €10 million to support ESB ecars to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle fast charging network. This project includes the installation of 90 high-power chargers each of which will be capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously, upgrading 50 existing standard chargers to fast chargers and replacing over 250 existing standard chargers with next generation high reliability models. This is a multi-annual project and is expected to be fully completed by 2022. The locations of the chargers that will be installed as part of this project have not been finalised. However, a provisional map of the planned network, showing indicative locations, was developed by ESB ecars and has been published on my Department’s website.

My Department, in conjunction with the SEAI, is also working on how best to support the provision of greater levels of public charging for electric vehicle owners who rely on on-street parking as their primary means of parking near their homes. I expect to announced details of a scheme, which will be funded by my Department and provide supports to Local Authorities, later this year. My Department is also examining how to support electric vehicle charging in locations such as apartment blocks and I expect to make an announcement on this early in the new year as set out in the Climate Action Plan.

The role that petrol stations, private car parks, shopping centres and other facilities offering car parking can play in providing infrastructure is under consideration by the Low Emissions Vehicles Taskforce, a cross departmental group co-chaired by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. As part of this taskforce, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is the lead department in relation to planning legislation and building regulations.

In addition, the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive has been finalised at European Union level. This Directive sets out requirements for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new residential and non-residential buildings with more than ten parking spaces and such buildings undergoing major renovation. The Directive also requires Member States to lay down requirements for the installation of a minimum number of recharging points for all non-residential buildings with more than twenty parking spaces from 2025. Furthermore, the Directive requires that Member States provide for measures in order to simplify the deployment of charging points in new and existing residential and non-residential buildings. The transposition of this Directive into Irish law and the actions relating to planning rules and guidelines set out in the Climate Action Plan are being led by my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and his department.

It is a matter for each individual Department or Government Office to provide facilities such as charge points for its staff and customers. I am aware, however, that there are four charge points currently available for members of the Oireachtas. My Department has three electric vehicle charging points at its offices at Adelaide Road and two at the offices in Beggars Bush.

Finally, I would note that the Climate Action Plan sets out the need to review and update the targets for public charging infrastructure which are currently included in the National Policy Framework for Alternative Fuels Infrastructure in Ireland 2017-2030. I expect this review to complete early next year.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2158, 2239)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2158. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the projected capital spending from 2020 to 2024 for functions within the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in tabular form. [32953/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2239. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the projected capital spending from 2020 to 2024 in his Department by the areas to which the spending will be directed, in tabular form. [32956/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2158 and 2239 together.

My Department and its agencies play a lead role in the delivery of a number of the strategic priorities identified in the National Development Plan and the recently published Climate Action Plan. Annual capital ceilings in respect of the period 2020 to 2022 were published in the National Development Plan and are set out in the Table, while detailed programme allocations are published in the Revised Estimates Volume, subsequent to each Budget Day.

Year

Capital Ceiling

2020

€297m

2021

€317m

2022

€400m

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated, in the recently published 2019 Mid Year Expenditure Report, that a capital reserve provision of up to €0.2 billion will be established in 2020 to meet any additional costs arising from the National Broadband Plan and the National Children’s Hospital. This Report also references additional capital of €0.2 billion in respect of the NBP in 2021 and 2022.

Capital investment in the energy area will position Ireland on a sustainable trajectory towards to achieve a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. Increased funding for energy efficiency upgrades in the residential, commercial and public sectors will deliver significant energy savings and reductions in emissions. Other key energy measures include the rollout of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat, supports for the uptake of electric vehicles, along with investment in energy research to accelerate the move away from fossil fuels.

In the Communications area, the National Broadband Plan State intervention will ensure that the opportunities presented by the digital transformation are available to every citizen, company and community in Ireland.

With a view to protecting our environment, my Department will continue to provide grant funding for the remediation of landfill sites, as well as supports for the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy. Ongoing investment in INFOMAR and Tellus mapping projects to support geoscience and in inland fisheries will underpin the sustainable development of Ireland’s natural resources.

Waste Disposal

Ceisteanna (2159)

John Brady

Ceist:

2159. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of plans to provide a €75 support payment to vulnerable persons with a condition such as lifelong or long-term medical incontinence to help meet the average annual cost of disposing of their domestic waste; the discussions he or his officials have had on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33691/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Since mid-2017, a range of charging options have been operated, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste, and provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various service-price offerings that suit different household circumstances. Mandatory per kilogramme 'pay by weight' charging was not introduced. A Price Monitoring Group (PMG) was established in mid-2017 to monitor the on-going cost of residential waste collection to homeowners across Ireland as the ‘flat-rate structure’ was being phased out. While fluctuations in prices and service offerings have been observed, the overall trend has been relative price stability.

My Department has engaged with relevant stakeholders, including representative organisations and public bodies, in an effort to see how best to provide a financial support to persons with long-term incontinence with respect to the disposal of medical incontinence wear.

Notwithstanding the complex issues at play, which are understandable given the sensitive nature of the medical data in question, I would like assure the Deputy that I continue to be committed to addressing this issue.

Environmental Policy

Ceisteanna (2160)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2160. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his Department has completed research into the economic and behavioural impact of a latte levy, that is, the introduction of a levy on single use coffee cups. [31599/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

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

- Banned the purchase of single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws across all government departments and bodies

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

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

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

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

- Worked on legislation to prohibit the manufacturing or placing on the market of certain products containing plastic microbeads; this work is well advanced.

The government’s Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown, which was published recently will step up ambition in this area further and commits to:

- Ensuring all plastic packaging is 100% recyclable by 2030

- Expanding the successful Producer Responsibility Schemes to other items.

- Improved labelling on goods - government will work with industry to improve labelling to avoid confusion or ambiguity on what can and cannot be recycled.

- Increased fees to industry for using difficult to recycle materials

The Plan also commits government to considering introducing levies on disposable items where sustainable alternatives are available. A Waste Characterisation report, with input from the EPA will be submitted to me by the end of the year. My Department is also considering what new environmental levies should be imposed, including a possible levy on beverage containers. I will consider environmental levy proposals once received in the coming weeks. I am keen to reduce reliance on single use materials and am keen to ensure that any measures that are introduced are effective at both changing consumer behaviour and helping Ireland to reach our overall goals of reducing non-recyclable waste.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (2161)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

2161. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the primary legislation enacted since May 2016; and if in each case, the legislation placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. [31477/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Details of the primary legislation sponsored by my Department and enacted by the Oireachtas since May 2016 are as follows:

- Energy Act 2016

- Minerals Development Act 2017

- Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Act 2017

- Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017

- Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act 2017

- Radiological Protection (Amendment) Act 2018

- Telecommunications Services (Ducting and Cables) Act 2018

None of the legislation enacted has placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (2162)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

2162. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the secondary legislation enacted since 1 January 2018; and, in each case, whether the legislation placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. [31501/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The secondary legislation enacted by my Department since 1 January 2018 is outlined in the tables.

Statutory Instruments

With the exception of S.I. 533 of 2018 and S.I. 30 of 2019 there was no additional regulatory burden placed on small and medium enterprises by any of the legislation.

- S.I. 533 of 2018 this replaces the previous Mercury Regulations (S.I. No. 27 of 2012, EU Regulation (EC) 1102/2008) and provides for the enforcement of EU Regulation (EU) 2017/852 on Mercury which is legally binding on all Member States. The impact on the industry as a result of the enforcement regulations is small. The Code of Practice on Mercury has been operational since July 2018. The treatment of amalgam mercury waste is in line with best practice. Dental Amalgam (silver fillings) usage has decreased in recent years mainly due to (1) the availability of more aesthetically pleasing white fillings and (2) improved oral hygiene.

- S.I. 30 of 2019 the Ionising Radiation Regulations transpose the Euratom Basic Safety Standard for Ionising Radiation Regulations which introduce new and more stringent safety and reporting standards for the protection of workers and members of the public from ionising radiation in the context of a revision of European radiation safety legislation.

In addition to the above Statutory Instruments the following Inland Fisheries Bye-Laws were made by my Department in 2018 and to date in 2019.

S.I. No.

Title

5 of 2018

Electricity Regulation Act 1999 (Establishment of Appeal Panel) (Amendment) Order 2018

83 of 2018

Control of Fishing for Salmon Order 2018

96 of 2018

Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) (Amendment)

Regulations 2018

112 of 2018

Inland Fisheries Ireland Superannuation Scheme 2018

158 of 2018

Wireless Telegraphy (National Point to Point Block Licences)

Regulations 2018 (Co-Sealed with Commission for Communications

Regulation)

169 of 2018

European Union (Renewable Energy and Biofuel Sustainability

Criteria) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

183 of 2018

European Union (End of Life Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

184 of 2018

European Union (Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in

Electrical and Electronic Equipment) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

198 of 2018

National Oil Reserves Agency Act 2007 (Biofuel Obligation Rate)

Order 2018

227 of 2018

Energy Act 2016 (Section 19) (Commencement) Order 2018

232 of 2018

European Union (National Emission Ceilings) Regulations 2018

282 of 2018

Wireless Telegraphy (Mobile Satellite Service and Complementary Ground Component) Regulations 2018 (Co-Sealed with Commission

for Communications Regulation)

309 of 2018

European Communities (Access to Information of the Environment)

(Amendment) Regulations 2018

349 of 2018

Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (Accelerated Capital Allowances for

Energy Efficient Equipment) (Amendment) (No. 1) Order 2018

360 of 2018

European Union (Measures for a High Common Level of Security of

Network and Information Systems) Regulations 2018.

372 of 2018

Energy Act 2016 (Section 8) (Commencement) Order 2018 (new

definition of SEM, amending S.2 Electricity Regulation Act 1999)

383 of 2018

European Union (Properties of Waste Which Render it Hazardous)

Regulations 2018

384 of 2018

European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Minerals

Development Act 1940)(Amendment) Regulations 2018

385 of 2018

European Union (Appropriate Assessment) (Minerals Development

Act 1940)(Amendment) Regulations 2018

403 of 2018

Electricity Regulation Act 1999 (Public Service Obligations)

(Amendment) Order 2018

533 of 2018

European Union (Mercury) Regulations 2018

549 of 2018

European Communities (Environmental Noise) Regulations 2018

585 of 2018

Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations 2018

643 of 2018

Inland Fisheries (Fixed Charge Notice) Regulations 2018

4 of 2019

European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment)(Peat Extraction) Regulation 2019.

10 of 2019

Radiological Protection (Amendment) Act 2018 (Commencement) Order 2019

13 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION (SHIP RECYCLING) (WASTE) REGULATIONS 2019

14 of 2019

Radiological Protection (Amendment) Act 2018 (Vesting Day) (Part 3) Order 2019

15 of 2019

Radiological Protection (Amendment) Act 2018 (Vesting Day) (Part 4) Order 2019

30 of 2019

Radiological Protection Act 1991 (Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2019

34 of 2019

Radiological Protection Act 1991 (Authorisation Application And Fees) Regulations 2019

38 of 2019

National Oil Reserves Agency Act 2007 (Biofuel Obligation Rate) Order 2019

115 of 2019

European Union (Renewable Energy) (Amendment) Regulations 2019

124 of 2019

European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Petroleum Exploration) (Amendment) Regulations 2019

132 of 2019

Control of Fishing for Salmon Order 2019

182 of 2019

WASTE MANAGEMENT (LANDFILL LEVY) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2019

190 of 2019

Radiological Protection Act 1991 (Non-Ionising Radiation) Order 2019

197 of 2019

Wireless Telegraphy (Public Service Television And Sound Broadcasting Licences) Regulations 2019

233 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION (WASTE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2019

237 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION (RENEWABLE ENERGY) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) REGULATIONS 2019

246 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION (RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES IN ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2019

249 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION (GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION REDUCTIONS, CALCULATION METHODS AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2019

250 of 2019

Waste Management (Facility Permit and Registration)(Amendment) Regulations 2019

343 of 2019

European Union (Open Internet Access) Regulations 2019

347 of 2019

European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) (Amendment) Regulations 2019

Bye-Laws

Bye Law No.

Title

324, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Emergency Closed Rivers)*

325, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Emergency Closed Rivers - Revocation) (*Revoked Bye-Law No. 324, 2018)

326, 2018

Abbert and Grange Rivers (Annual Close Season)

327, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Closed Rivers)

960, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Draft nets and Snap

nets)

961, 2018

Fermoy Weir Fly fishing only (No. 4 Or Lismore District)(Munster

Blackwater)

962, 2018

Western Fisheries Region River Clare (Revocation)

963, 2018

Upper and Lower Limits of Cong River and Cong Canal (No.9 (1) or Galway District)

964, 2018

Designated Salmonid Waters (Annulled February 2019)

965, 2018

Angling Bye Law

966, 2018

Conservation of Salmon Sea Trout (Bag Limits)

967, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Catch and Release)

968, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Suir)

969, 2018

Conservation of Sea Trout

970, 2018

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Slaney)

328, 2019

Conservation of Sea Trout and Brown Trout Angling (No. 5 or Cork District) (Rosscarbery Bay and Roury River)

971, 2019

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout Waterville Area (No.7 for Kerry District)

972, 2019

Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Draft Nets and Snap Nets)

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (2164)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2164. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when local authorities will complete their climate adaptation plans; and his role in scrutinising such plans. [31516/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Ireland’s first statutory National Adaptation Framework, published in January 2018, sets out the context to ensure Local Authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the main risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into policy making.

Under the National Adaptation Framework, each Local Authority is required to develop a Local Adaptation Strategy in line with “Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines,” which were launched by Minister of State Canney on 3 December 2018 and are available on www.dccae.gov.ie. Local Authorities have been set a deadline for the completion of local strategies by 30 September 2019.

In January 2018, my Department also entered into a funding commitment of €10 million over 5 years to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices. This recognises the significant obligation which has been placed on local government to develop and implement its own climate action measures – both in terms of mitigation and adaptation.

A key priority for the Climate Action Regional Offices in 2019 will be to support the Local Authorities within their region to develop their Local Adaptation Strategies and ensure they align with national adaptation policy and sectoral priorities. Work is underway across all Local Authorities on the preparation of Local Adaptation Strategies in line with the five-step methodology set out in the Guidelines. The development and approval of the strategies themselves remains the responsibility of each individual Local Authority.

My Department is working closely with local government in supporting the adaptation planning process and will monitor overall progress on the development of Local Adaptation Strategies at Local Authority level via the National Adaptation Steering Committee, as well as through the implementation of the Climate Action Plan 2019 and with a view to ensuring the 30 September deadline is met.

National Development Plan Funding

Ceisteanna (2165)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2165. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of resources allocated in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and in departmental budgets under headings (details supplied); the areas to which funding has been allocated, for example, in a departmental vote or in the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society fund, in tabular form. [31591/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027 provides Exchequer funding of €7.6 billion, €0.5 billion under the Climate Action Fund, together with investment of €13.7 billion by commercial energy State bodies under National Strategic Outcome 8 - Transition to a Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Society. A copy of the Plan is available at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/580a9d-project-2040-documents/.

Summary details of Exchequer funding levels under the Plan for my Department in respect of the capital investments referred to in the Question are set out in the Table.

Exchequer Resources

€ billion

Energy Efficiency - Housing Retrofit

3.0

Energy Efficiency - Public Buildings

0.8

Boiler Replacement

0.7

Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

0.3

Electric Vehicles

0.2

Capital provisions in my Department's 2019 Vote for the related investments are outlined in the Table below, while allocations for 2020 and subsequent years of the NDP will be settled in the context of the annual Estimates process.

2019 Provisions

€ million

Energy Efficiency - Residential and Community

90.8

Energy Efficiency - Commercial & Public

15.7

Deep Retrofit Pilot

10

Electric Vehicles

29.5

Climate Action Fund

15

Environmental Policy

Ceisteanna (2166)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2166. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated cost of introducing a State operated plastic bottle return scheme in which bottles returned are rewarded with 1 cent and 5 cent, respectively, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31596/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In January this year, I announced a national study which will consider how we can deliver a 90% collection target for single use beverage containers, including plastic bottles in Ireland. This review will also examine the possibility of introducing a Deposit and Return Scheme and how this might operate in an Irish context. This study is currently underway and is due for completion later in the year.

The particular details set out in the question are not yet available. However, the government is determined to reduce the excessive use of plastics. As a first step, the purchase of single use plastics has been stopped throughout the public service. We are determined to increase the recycling of plastics from 37% now to 55% in the coming years and to, in accordance with the Climate Action Plan, phase out non-recyclable plastics entirely. A Deposit and Return Scheme is one option proposed for EU member states to consider as a means to increase the collection of plastic beverage containers and achieve the new 90% target for this waste stream identified in the Single Use Plastic proposal.

The study that has been commissioned will look at the current Irish waste collection system, international best practice in this area and how Ireland can bridge the gap from the targets already being achieved to the new 90% target. Once the review has been completed and an approach agreed, I will announce the actions which need to be taken.

Energy Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (2167)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2167. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the State owns renewable energy infrastructure; if so, the types of infrastructure owned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31603/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Department itself does not own or operate any electricity generation assets of any technology.

The commercial semi-state companies operating in the energy markets own and operate different renewable generation technologies including wind, biomass and hydro technologies.

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Ceisteanna (2168, 2172, 2173, 2174, 2178, 2227, 2234, 2273, 2281)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

2168. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the allocation of homes for retrofitting to community based organisations under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has now ceased; if this is as a result of reaching the allocated budget; if so, the measures he plans to take to ensure that skilled staff are not made redundant or community based organisations are forced to close down; his views on whether such actions would have a detrimental impact on building capacity within the sector to achieve the Project Ireland 2040 objective of 45,000 domestic retrofits per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31616/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

2172. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the allocation of homes for retrofitting to community based organisations under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has now ceased; if this is as a result of reaching the allocated budget; if so, the measures he plans to take to ensure that skilled staff are not made redundant or community based organisations are forced to close down; his views on whether such actions would have a detrimental impact on building capacity within the sector to achieve the Project Ireland 2040 objective of 45,000 domestic retrofits per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31640/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

2173. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the allocation of homes for retrofitting to community based organisations under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has now ceased; if this is as a result of reaching the allocated budget; if so, the measures he plans to take to ensure that skilled staff are not made redundant or community based organisations are forced to close down; his views on whether such actions would have a detrimental impact on building capacity within the sector to achieve the Project Ireland 2040 objective of 45,000 domestic retrofits per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31641/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

2174. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the allocation of homes for retrofitting to community based organisations under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has ceased; if this is a result of reaching the allocated budget; if so, the measures he plans to take to ensure that skilled staff are not made redundant or community based organisations are forced to close; his views on whether such actions would have a detrimental impact on building capacity within the sector to achieve the Project Ireland 2040 objective of 45,000 domestic retrofits annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31650/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

2178. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the allocation of homes for retrofitting to community based organisations under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has now ceased; if this is as a result of reaching the allocated budget; if so, the measures he plans to take to ensure that skilled staff are not made redundant or community based organisations are forced to close down; his views on whether such actions will have a detrimental impact on building capacity within the sector to achieve the Project Ireland 2040 objective of 45,000 domestic retrofits per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31855/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

2227. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the allocation of homes for retrofitting to community based organisations under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has now ceased; if this is as a result of reaching the allocated budget; if so, the measures he plans to take to ensure skilled staff are not made redundant or community based organisations are forced to close down; his views on whether such actions would have a detrimental impact on building capacity within the sector to achieve the Project Ireland 2040 objective of 45,000 domestic retrofits per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32499/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

2234. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some community based organisations that were delivering quality energy retrofits to households living in fuel poverty are idle due to an apparent funding shortage at the SEAI, which has resulted in all work allocations to community based organisations being ceased, which could also result in significant job losses of a skilled workforce in view of the launch of the Climate Action Plan 2019, which includes plans to retrofit 500,000 homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32751/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

2273. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason community based organisations are not being allocated work under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme; if funding of such work for community based organisation has ceased; if his Department has considered measures to avoid job redundancies as a result of the ceasing of allocations; his plans to fulfil the commitment to have 50,000 homes retrofitted per annum as per the Climate Action Plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33495/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

2281. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps being taken on the shortage in funding under the SEAI better energy warmer home scheme, which has meant ceasing work allocations to community based organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33912/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2168, 2172 to 2174, inclusive, 2178, 2227, 2234, 2273 and 2281 together.

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme provides free energy efficiency upgrades to the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty. The Scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on behalf of my Department.

In June 2018 the range of energy efficiency measures available under the Warmer Homes Scheme was expanded to include ‘deeper’ measures. Under the expanded scheme, in certain circumstances, external or internal wall insulation, central heating and replacement windows, can be provided where a technical assessment (by SEAI contractors) considers them necessary. These additional measures brought the level of retrofit into alignment with that envisaged by the National Development Plan, but changed the relative attractiveness of availing of other 'shallower' interventions. Managing the enhanced package of measures has required careful monitoring and programme management by SEAI within available resources.

The initial 2019 budget allocation for the Scheme of €24m was in line with the 2018 allocation. However, following a mid-year capital review conducted by my Department and SEAI, the budget has been increased to €39.8m for 2019. This will facilitate additional work allocations for CBOs and contractors in 2019 and the SEAI has in recent days been in communication with the CBOs in that regard.

The Warmer Homes Scheme is delivered through a panel of contractors, appointed through a competitive tendering process. Since the introduction of ‘deeper’ measures, some CBOs that are only contracted to carry out ‘shallow’ measures under the Warmer Homes Scheme, have seen their allocation volumes reduce. While the expansion of the scheme has been positive for the energy poor homeowners involved and for building capacity in the supply chain in general, it has had some negative impacts for contractors that are unable to deliver deeper works.

SEAI will be renewing its contract with Warmer Homes Scheme contractors in 2020, which will require all contractors to be able to deliver all measures, deeper and shallow. SEAI is encouraging all CBOs to apply for this contract and has been working with CBOs over the past year supporting them in upskilling and gaining experience to help ensure they can compete for the 2020 contract and that their organisations remain viable.

Building capacity in the sector is a top priority. However it is critical that we build capacity sustainably, ensuring that all contractors delivering these ever-increasingly complex retrofit projects are adequately skilled and resourced. The Climate Action Plan includes a number of measures which will build the supply chain for energy efficiency retrofits required to meet our 2030 targets including support for the development of necessary skills across the education and training system.

Post Office Network

Ceisteanna (2169)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

2169. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the tender process to source a new location for a post office in Holycross, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31617/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The location of individual post office and the operation of the postal network is an operational matter for the Board and management of An Post and I as Minister have no function.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (2170)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

2170. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if an assessment of the radiation levels from 5G masts and the health risks from antennal transmitting for the technology has been carried out. [31621/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have policy responsibility for matters pertaining to public exposure to non-ionising radiation. Irish policy in this area is informed by a substantial volume of internationally recognised scientific research and evidence. This includes the guidelines set down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNIRP.

These guidelines provide scientifically-based exposure limits that are applicable to both public and occupational exposure from electromagnetic fields (EMF), including 5G. ICNIRP guidelines apply up to a frequency of 300 gigahertz (GHz), well above the maximum frequencies being considered for 5G.

ComReg, the independent telecoms regulatory authority, ensures that licensed mobile operators comply with their licence conditions and do not exceed ICNIRP guidelines. ComReg carries out a Programme of Measurement of Non-Ionising Radiation (NIR) Emissions and details in this regard are available on the regulator’s website at www.comreg.ie

In 2015, the Irish Government commissioned a report by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands (RIVM). This was published in 2016 and is entitled “Electromagnetic Fields in the Irish Context”. It examined and synthesised existing peer-reviewed research into clear findings, with particular focus on the potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields arising from high voltage power lines, and electromagnetic fields from base stations for mobile communication. This report reaffirmed the overall conclusion of an earlier 2007 report, “Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields”, that there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects.

This is an area that is kept under review, and in this regard, I have recently assigned a new statutory function to the Environmental Protection Agency to provide general information to the public on matters pertaining to public exposure to non-ionising radiation, to monitor international scientific and technological developments and provide independent advice to my Department in this area.

Legislative Reviews

Questions Nos. 2172 to 2174, inclusive, answered with Question No. 2168.

Ceisteanna (2171)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

2171. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of reviews carried out by his Department pursuant to Standing Order No. 164A of Dáil Éireann; the pieces of legislation to which each review refers; the number and title of each piece of legislation in respect of which a review pursuant to Standing Order 164A has not been undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31625/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

There have been two post enactment reports published by my Department, the details of which are as follows:-

Post Enactment Reports Published

Date of Publication

Post Enactment Report on Energy Act 2016

24 July 2017

Post Enactment Scrutiny Report on Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Act 2017

17 May 2018

The following legislation has not yet had post-enactment scrutiny undertaken:

Legislation

Status

ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Act 2014 (No. 5 of 2014)

A formal review of the enactment will be undertaken.

Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Act 2015 (No. 20 of 2015)

A formal review of the enactment will be undertaken.

Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2015 (No. 26 of 2015)

A formal review of the enactment will be undertaken.

Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 (No.46 of 2015)

Although no post enactment report has been provided to the Oireachtas, Action 4 of the Climate Action Plan 2019 commits to the publication of a Climate Action (Amendment) Bill by the end of Q1 2020.

Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act 2017 (No. 15 of 2017)

A formal review of the enactment will be undertaken.

Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 (No. 16 of 2017)

This legislation was enacted to address a minor technical oversight in the Inland Fisheries Act 2010.

Following a significant period of operation of the amended 2010 Act, the Department consulted with Inland Fisheries Ireland who have confirmed that the 2010 Act is now operating fully as originally intended. A formal review of the enactment, pursuant to Standing Order 164A, is currently underway and will be completed shortly.

Minerals Development Act 2017 (No. 23 of 2017)

This Act has not yet been commenced.

Radiological Protection (Amendment) Act 2018 (No. 8 of 2018)

A formal review of the enactment will be undertaken.

Telecommunications Services (Ducting and Cables) Act 2018 (No. 4 of 2018)

This Act has not yet been commenced.

The primary purpose of post-enactment scrutiny is to ascertain whether the legislation has achieved the original policy objectives. In some instances it may take longer than the 12 month timeframe to determine this. The Oireachtas Library and Research Service’s spotlight report also highlights that it may be inappropriate to carry out post-enactment scrutiny until a substantive amount of time has passed and that that period may justifiably differ depending on the Act in question.

Questions Nos. 2172 to 2174, inclusive, answered with Question No. 2168.

Solar Energy Guidelines

Ceisteanna (2175)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2175. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the guidelines for solar panel energy development will be published. [31824/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

This question is a matter for the Dept Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government as it refers to planning guidelines.

Post Office Network

Ceisteanna (2176)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

2176. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of efforts to find a replacement postmaster for a post office (details supplied) in County Cork and to make a commitment to retaining the service. [31831/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The management of individual post offices and the operation of the postal network is an operational matter for the Board and management of An Post and I as Minister have no function.