Brexit Issues

Question No. 2178 answered with Question No. 2168.

Ceisteanna (2177)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

2177. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the implications of a hard Brexit for UK opt-out television channels broadcasting to Ireland under the television without frontiers directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31847/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Television Without Frontiers Directive has been replaced by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

The AVMSD is based upon the country of origin principle which means that TV broadcasters that obtain regulatory clearance in one Member State can make their services available in all Member States, without having to obtain separate regulatory clearances.

A number of broadcasters have established their businesses in the UK and obtained regulatory clearance there, which enables them to make their services available in other Member States, including Ireland. If the UK leaves the EU, it will be the responsibility of a broadcaster that wishes to continue to make its services available within the EU to obtain the correct regulatory clearance in an EU Member State.

Question No. 2178 answered with Question No. 2168.

Invasive Fish Species

Ceisteanna (2179)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

2179. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he considered the implications of his statement (details supplied) for the native salmonid populations in view of anthropological spreading of invasive species to salmonid fisheries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31950/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I can confirm that the e-mail referenced by the Deputy and referred to as a statement made by me was not issued by me or by my Department nor did the Department receive an e-mail as detailed.

However, in order to assist the Deputy, I have consulted with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), which advises that full details of the models referred to in the e-mail are available in the peer-reviewed scientific publication “Pike (Esox Lucius) in Ireland: Developing Knowledge and tools to Support Policy and Management”, published by IFI in 2018.

In addition, the scientific paper “Coexistence of Pike (Esox Lucius) and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) in Irish lakes”, which supports the coexistence element of the above publication, was peer-reviewed and published in the internationally reputable Journal of Fish Biology, 93, 1005-1011.

IFI has confirmed that statistical models suggest that lakes with greater area, maximum depth and stream connectivity show a higher probability of coexistence. Only the largest and deepest lakes with strong connectivity can be confidently said to have a high probability of successful coexistence. The IFI report also states that introductions of pike are likely to have negative effects on trout (Salmo trutta) stocks in small isolated lakes.

Waste Disposal Charges

Question No. 2181 answered with Question No. 2157.

Ceisteanna (2180)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

2180. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 189 of 4 October 2018, the status of a €75 support for persons with lifelong or long-term medical incontinence to assist with pay-by-weight bin charges; the reason for the delay in introducing the support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31951/19]

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 provide 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 ongoing 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 assure the Deputy that I continue to be committed to addressing this issue.

Question No. 2181 answered with Question No. 2157.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (2182, 2224, 2225, 2226, 2235, 2257, 2291)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2182. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure a fibre broadband service is provided to an area (details supplied) as part of the current Eir roll-out. [31974/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2224. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if fibre broadband will be supplied to a property (details supplied) under the Eir roll-out. [32462/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2225. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if fibre broadband will be supplied to a property (details supplied) under the current Eir roll-out. [32466/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2226. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if fibre broadband will be supplied to a property (details supplied) under the Eir roll-out. [32495/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2235. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the availability of broadband service to a property (details supplied). [32755/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2257. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of efibre broadband with specific regard to an area (details supplied). [33253/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2291. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if phase 1 of the national broadband plan roll-out by Eir will service a property (details supplied). [34332/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2182, 2224 to 2226, inclusive, 2235, 2257 and 2291 together.

The premises referenced by the Deputy, while close to eir's commercial roll out, are all located 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.

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 the Commitment Agreement, signed with my Department, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.

The State intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process, and Government agreed to this.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close. The finalisation of financial closure and legal requirements are progressing towards contract award. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. In the first year of roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community-based high-speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations.

The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70,000-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (2183, 2185)

John Curran

Ceist:

2183. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of new staff members he plans to recruit to his Department in order to implement the climate action plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32028/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Curran

Ceist:

2185. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of new staff recruited to his Department in order to implement the climate action plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32030/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2183 and 2185 together.

The assignment of additional staff to support the implementation of the Climate Action Plan is currently under consideration in my Department as part of its normal workforce management processes.

Air Quality

Question No. 2185 answered with Question No. 2183.

Ceisteanna (2184, 2276, 2297)

John Curran

Ceist:

2184. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the relevant bodies he plans to meet with in order to take immediate action to improve the air quality in Dublin city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32029/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

2276. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the EPA report on nitrogen dioxide levels in Dublin; the actions he plans to take on foot of same; his views as to whether monitoring stations should be put in place in some back gardens of houses backing onto the M50 in view of the fact that the report identifies the M50 as one of the most polluted areas with the highest concentrations of nitrogen dioxide occurring within 10 m of the roadside; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33771/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

2297. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on creating low-emission zones in the areas of Dublin with the worst air quality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34506/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2184, 2276 and 2297 together.

A report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently released, indicates that areas around certain heavily trafficked roads in the Dublin area, including the M50, may have higher levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than previously indicated.

The report underlines the need to implement the Climate Action Plan. The Plan includes a number of actions which will have a significant impact on reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality. My Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have begun discussions on establishing a working group, bringing relevant organisation together to ensure early action is taken on this matter and to improve the air quality in Dublin. This process will include the two Departments, the four Dublin Local Authorities and the EPA. The questions of low emission zones and further monitoring will be examined in this context.

This work will complement the work already under way in developing an all-of-government Clean Air Strategy which will provide an overarching policy framework within which clean air policies can be formulated and given effect in a manner consistent with national priorities, EU and other international policy considerations. The Clean Air Strategy will address a range of harmful air pollutants in Ireland, including those arising from the agricultural, transport and residential heating sectors, in an integrated manner. I intend to publish the Strategy in the coming months.

Question No. 2185 answered with Question No. 2183.

Sustainable Development Strategy

Ceisteanna (2186)

John Curran

Ceist:

2186. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to make economic growth less transport-intensive through better planning and remote and home working; if he will provide additional details of these plans as set out in the Climate Action Plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32033/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Climate Action Plan 2019, which I published on 17 June, reaffirms the important role of the National Planning Framework (NPF) in supporting national decarbonisation objectives. The NPF has clearly defined National Strategic Outcomes supporting the objectives of the Climate Action Plan, including Transition to a Low-Carbon and Climate Resilient Society, Compact Growth and Sustainable Mobility.

A top priority of the NPF is compact and sustainable growth. Ireland’s five cities are targeted for 50% of overall growth by 2040, with the four cities Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford each targeted to grow by at least 50% within that period. This will mean increasing the proportion of more compact forms of growth in the development of settlements of all sizes, with a focus on urban infill and the reuse of brownfield lands. ‘Brownfield’ targets are to deliver at least 40% of all new homes nationally within the built-up footprint of existing settlements, comprised of at least 50% of all new homes in the five cities and at least 30% of all new homes in settlements elsewhere.

The NPF envisages that changing the pattern of development in this manner will need to be buttressed by new policy tools in the planning system. It will ensure that more people will be living within the existing built-up footprint of cities and towns will support achieving the objectives of this Plan through:

- Reduced travel distances and greater proximity to employment and services, which will enable a greater proportion of journeys by bike or on foot (zero emissions);

- Greater urban density, which when combined with the point above, will ensure more viable public transport (less emissions per person than by individual vehicle);

- Greater sustainable mode share, which will enable cities and towns to densify, as development will not be dependent on road capacity nor car parking requirements, and less land will be required for the latter;

- Higher-density residential development, which tends to comprise smaller units and therefore requires less energy to heat. NPF targets require the proportion of apartments to treble, 13% in 2019, to 39% by 2030; and

- Closer proximity of multi-storey and terraced buildings, which will require less energy and make renewables-based systems of energy distribution such as district heating, or area-wide technology upgrades, more feasible.

The National Broadband Plan will deliver High-Speed Broadband services to over 1.1 million people in areas where there is no existing or planned commercial network. The Intervention Area includes 540,000 premises, including 56,000 farms and 44,000 businesses, and will ensure that households and business in rural parts of Ireland will have a similar level of connectivity as households and businesses in urban areas.

The High-Speed Broadband network will deliver a range of environmental benefits. For each new remote worker, an estimated average net saving of up to 10 kWh per day will be achieved, reducing commuter transport energy use and carbon emissions. Availability of better online conferencing and collaboration tools will reduce the need for business travel and the associated carbon emissions. High-Speed Broadband also increases the creation of local employment opportunities, which allows more people to work closer to their homes, reducing the emissions associated with longer commuter journeys.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (2187)

John Curran

Ceist:

2187. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the body that is to oversee the implementation of the carbon pricing and cross-cutting policies heading of the climate action plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32034/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I published the Climate Action Plan on 17 June. The plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Actions 7 to 15 in the Plan refer to the implementation of a range of cross-cutting policy measures including: implementing a carbon tax rate of at least €80 per tonne by 2030 and carrying out a full assessment of a trajectory of increases over successive annual Budgets; developing a strategy to mobilise private sector investment to meet our climate targets; and the implementation of the National Planning Framework. The Annex of Actions to the Plan identifies the Department or body with lead responsibility for each action.

The Climate Action Plan sets out new governance arrangements to ensure that the Plan is effectively implemented, including the Climate Action Delivery Board, which has been established in the Department of the Taoiseach to oversee delivery of the Plan. The Delivery Board's quarterly meetings will be jointly chaired by the Secretaries General of the Department of the Taoiseach and my Department and its membership comprises Secretaries General from Departments responsible for the actions outlined in the Plan. The first meeting of the Board took place on 16 July 2019.

The Board will ensure coordinated, timely and effective implementation of the actions in the Plan, including cross-cutting actions, and hold each Department and public body accountable for the delivery. In addition the Board will discuss and review strategic projects and areas of work in the Plan. It will prepare quarterly reports on delivery for the Government which will be published.

It will also contribute to the development of an annual update of the Plan, starting in early 2020. This will ensure that this Plan is a living document, with new actions being added each year. This follows the successful approach which was core to delivering the Action Plan for Jobs.

Litter Pollution

Ceisteanna (2188)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2188. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of funding and the number of community projects that have benefitted from anti-graffiti and anti-litter funding since 2011, by year and county in tabular form. [32050/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

From 1997 to 2018, in excess of €16.3m has been provided in co-funding by my Department to Local Authority anti-litter awareness and education initiatives. I recently announced a further €771,500 in funding for this scheme for 2019.

Local Authorities are responsible for selecting suitable anti-litter awareness projects for funding and deciding on the grant allocations in individual cases. These should seek to promote greater public awareness and education in relation to litter and graffiti and should, as far as possible, have a particular focus on voluntary initiatives by community and environmental groups, and on involving schools and young people in anti-litter and anti-graffiti action.

My Department does not collate data on the number of individual projects funded by the scheme by each Local Authority. I make an allocation of funding to each Local Authority whose responsibility it is to determine and prioritise projects based on the needs within their functional area. This allows each Local Authority the scope to tailor the funding in the most appropriate manner to tackle local issues that are most relevant to them. Details of the funding allocations, from 2011 to 2018, are available on my Department's website at:

https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/litter/Pages/Local-Authority-Grant-Scheme.aspx.

The breakdown of grants for 2019 will be finalised when Local Authorities have responded with proposed projects.

Illegal Dumping

Question No. 2190 answered with Question No. 2157.

Ceisteanna (2189)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2189. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of funding and the number of community projects that have benefitted from anti-dumping funding since 2011, by year and county in tabular form. [32051/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Each local authority is responsible for the supervision and the enforcement of the relevant provisions of the Waste Management Act in relation to the holding, recovery and disposal of waste within its functional area. Local authorities have specific powers under the Act to require measures to be taken, or to take measures directly, to prevent or limit environmental pollution caused or likely to be caused by the holding, recovery or disposal of waste, and to mitigate or remedy the effects on the environment of such activity.

Notwithstanding this fact, my Department encourages a multifaceted approach to tackling the problem, incorporating enforcement, public awareness and education and, as such, provides funding to support the activities of the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities and the network of local authority waste enforcement officers. In this regard, since 2011 some €60 million has been allocated by my Department to support a network of local authority waste enforcement officers.

In addition, since 2017 my Department has provided funding to local authorities working with community and voluntary organisations in tackling the problem of illegal dumping through the National Anti-Dumping Initiative. In March of this year I announced funding of €3 million for the 2019 Anti-Dumping Initiative, an increase of 50% on last year, which will support 280 projects nationwide. Details of this year’s allocations and the projects funded by this initiative in 2017 and 2018 can be accessed on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/enforcement/anti-dumping-initiative/Pages/AntiDumpingInitiative.aspx .

Question No. 2190 answered with Question No. 2157.

Sustainable Energy Communities Scheme

Ceisteanna (2191)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2191. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of funding and the number of sustainable energy community groups that have been supported by the SEAI since 2011, by year and county in tabular form. [32053/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) Network was set up in 2015 to provide support for communities who want to take the first step towards becoming more energy-efficient. The network model is used so that all the different energy users in an area including homes, sports clubs, community centres, churches and businesses can participate. There are now 297 community groups in the SEC network.

SEAI works with members of the network to help them to identify, plan, implement and review a programme of sustainable energy activities for their community and give them access to initial funding. Support provided can include mentoring, training, technical support and project funding.

The recently published Climate Action Plan 2019 envisages a coordinated step-up in the activities of key bodies to support and motivate an increase in practical action at the local authority and community levels, including developing new networks. The plan commits to supporting the expansion of the Sustainable Energy Communities to 500 by 2020, and 1500 by 2030.

While all SECs receive mentoring supports, only communities that are developing their energy master plans get direct funding, hence the differences between the tables below. Almost a third of our communities have already progressed to energy master planning.

Table 1: Amount of funding provided to SECs for the development of local Energy Master Plans. The 'National' category applies to SECs that operate outside of a single region or county.

County

2018

2019

Grand Total

Cork

€9,880

€9,920

€19,800

Donegal

€5,000

€5,000

Dublin

€8,812

€3,765

€12,577

Galway

€15,000

€15,000

Kerry

€6,150

€6,150

Leitrim

€4,500

€29,018

€33,518

Limerick

€10,305

€10,305

Louth

€20,000

€20,000

Mayo

€15,000

€10,996

€25,996

Monaghan

€20,000

€20,000

Tipperary

€9,788

€9,788

National

€49,199

€49,199

Grand Total

€103,496

€123,836

€227,332

Table 2: Number of SECs per year and per county, supported by SEAI with Mentors, technical support, events and training.

Counties

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Grand Total

Kildare

2

2

Kilkenny

1

1

Wexford

1

1

Carlow

9

2

11

Cavan

1

2

3

Clare

1

4

2

7

Cork

1

6

5

11

7

30

Donegal

2

3

6

11

Dublin

1

4

5

9

9

28

Dublin

1

1

Galway

3

6

5

5

2

21

Kerry

1

4

3

6

14

Kildare

2

10

1

13

Kilkenny

2

4

4

10

Laois

1

2

1

6

10

Leitrim

2

3

2

7

Limerick

2

5

11

1

19

Longford

1

1

1

1

4

Louth

3

2

5

Mayo

1

5

5

3

3

17

Meath

1

7

1

9

Monaghan

2

2

Offaly

3

1

1

5

Roscommon

1

1

1

3

Sligo

2

1

2

5

Tipperary

4

3

2

3

12

Waterford

3

3

1

7

Westmeath

1

4

3

3

11

Wexford

1

4

6

11

Wicklow

1

1

4

4

10

National

1

2

3

1

7

Grand Total

10

50

76

104

57

297

Energy Conservation

Ceisteanna (2192)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2192. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of homes that have received support for a deep retrofit from the SEAI since 2011 by year and county in tabular form. [32054/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Deep Retrofit Pilot scheme on behalf of my Department. The Scheme, a three-year pilot which began in 2017, is investigating how to create a scalable offering for the deep retrofit of Ireland’s housing stock, while building consumer demand as well as contractor capacity.

Under the scheme, the SEAI provides grants to fund up to 50% of the total capital and project management costs for homes that achieve an A3 Building Energy Rating. 95% funding is available under the pilot scheme for households in energy poverty.

Details of the number of homes that received support under the Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme, by year (since the scheme commenced in 2017) and county are set out in the table below. The figures for 2019 are year to date.

County

No. of Homes Completed

2017

2018

2019*

Carlow

0

0

0

Cavan

0

0

1

Clare

0

2

0

Cork

2

5

1

Donegal

0

16

0

Dublin

1

43

18

Galway

0

5

5

Kerry

0

2

1

Kildare

0

3

1

Kilkenny

0

3

2

Laois

0

1

0

Leitrim

0

0

1

Limerick

0

6

0

Longford

0

0

0

Louth

0

1

0

Mayo

12

52

0

Meath

1

1

0

Monaghan

0

0

0

Offaly

0

0

1

Roscommon

0

0

0

Sligo

0

0

0

Tipperary

0

26

1

Waterford

0

12

3

Westmeath

0

1

6

Wexford

2

15

6

Wicklow

0

2

0

18

196

47

Total

261

*year to date

Trading Online Voucher Scheme

Ceisteanna (2193)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2193. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of businesses that have received support from the online trading vouchers scheme since 2011, by year and county in tabular form. [32055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In July 2014, my Department launched the Trading Online Voucher Scheme nationally, following a successful pilot in the Dublin area. The Scheme is funded by my Department and administered in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) nationwide. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500, subject to match funding, coupled with training, mentoring and networking supports to help small businesses to develop their ecommerce capability. Small businesses, with 10 or fewer employees and less than €2m in revenue, that have little or no capacity to trade online are eligible to apply.

Those interested in applying for the Scheme must first undertake mandatory training, provided nationwide by the Local Enterprise Office network. The training is mainly focused on basic ecommerce topics, steps for developing your business website, use of Social Media for business, and on specifics of the actual Scheme such as eligibility and allowable expenditure.

The number of businesses that have received the mandatory training provided under the Scheme per annum is below.

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total

*

4,018

3,497

4,010

4,141

745

16,411

Once the mandatory training is completed, businesses can then decide to submit an application to the Scheme, if they so wish.

The number of businesses approved for funding under the Scheme, per county, can be found in the following table.

County

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 (up to end June 2019)

TOTAL

Carlow

18

29

22

12

5

5

91

Cavan

6

12

14

20

15

6

73

Clare

3

21

37

32

33

19

145

Cork City

21

30

35

32

23

29

170

Cork North & West

20

83

55

44

47

30

279

Cork South

16

77

45

37

40

21

236

Donegal

28

35

24

48

47

24

206

Dublin City

40

97

98

140

114

65

554

Dublin South

8

24

37

38

33

24

164

DLR

30

91

75

78

56

40

370

Fingal

53

48

51

51

49

36

288

Galway

6

20

58

44

53

35

216

Kerry

33

52

85

59

56

36

321

Kildare

28

45

24

43

40

26

206

Kilkenny

26

42

27

28

39

12

174

Laois

5

20

18

11

23

17

94

Leitrim

22

15

18

12

11

6

84

Limerick

25

52

58

46

24

18

223

Longford

3

12

12

15

13

8

63

Louth

14

28

39

55

42

9

187

Mayo

13

21

22

29

43

18

146

Meath

6

15

11

31

22

29

114

Monaghan

2

21

23

18

19

13

96

Offaly

6

24

14

15

21

9

89

Roscommon

4

22

19

22

23

12

102

Sligo

32

25

23

22

22

13

137

Tipperary

19

44

33

37

40

21

194

Waterford

29

32

49

42

30

13

195

Westmeath

9

29

26

29

26

14

133

Wexford

16

38

44

38

32

20

188

Wicklow

50

82

58

68

66

16

340

Total

591

1186

1154

1196

1107

644

5878

Energy Efficiency

Ceisteanna (2194)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

2194. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of businesses that have received support from the SEAI to reduce energy costs through upgrading their lighting since 2011, by year and county in tabular form. [32056/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The SEAI has administered the Smart Lighting Scheme since 2017. This Scheme helps small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their energy costs through upgrades to their lighting systems. To date, over 400 businesses have availed of the scheme. The 2019 scheme closed for applications on 20 May.

The following table shows the number of businesses that received support under the Lighting Scheme in 2017, 2018 and 2019, by year and county.

-

2017

2018

2019

Carlow

0

1

3

Cavan

2

2

0

Clare

1

7

6

Cork

3

16

17

Donegal

4

13

7

Dublin

12

44

23

Galway

5

27

19

Kerry

3

3

6

Kildare

2

2

3

Kilkenny

1

4

2

Laois

0

2

3

Leitrim

2

0

2

Limerick

1

12

8

Longford

0

2

1

Louth

1

5

4

Mayo

5

20

6

Meath

3

5

4

Monaghan

1

5

6

Offaly

1

4

6

Roscommon

2

4

2

Sligo

2

6

3

Tipperary

2

3

10

Waterford

1

7

1

Westmeath

6

4

4

Wexford

1

3

2

Wicklow

0

2

0

61

203

148

It is worth noting that lighting upgrades can also be supported as part of grants provided under other SEAI schemes such as EXEED; data on the lighting element of the overall project is not readily available for those schemes.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (2195)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2195. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made in the establishment of a climate action delivery board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32058/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Climate Action Plan 2019 was published on 17 June 2019. The Plan contains over 180 actions that Ireland needs to implement to meet our EU 2030 targets and achieve our longer-term low carbon transition objective.

Delivering such an integrated set of actions and policies will require a deep level of collaboration across Government. The approach adopted will closely follow the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee and build on the learnings from the success of the Action Plan for Jobs.

The Climate Action Plan outlines significant new governance structures to ensure that climate policy is implemented. These include:

- a five year Carbon Budget and sectorial targets with a detailed plan of actions to deliver them;

- an independent Climate Action Council to recommend the Carbon Budget and evaluate policy;

- strong accountability to an Oireachtas Climate Action Committee; and

- carbon proofing all Government decisions and major investments.

The governance structure also includes a Climate Action Delivery Board to be established within the Department of the Taoiseach to oversee delivery of the Plan.

The Delivery Board will be jointly chaired by the Secretaries General of the Departments of the Taoiseach and Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The membership will comprise Secretaries General from Departments responsible for the actions outlined in the Plan. The first meeting of the Board was held on 16 July 2019.

The Board will ensure coordinated, timely and effective implementation of the actions in the Plan and hold each department and public body accountable for the delivery. The Delivery Board will also discuss and review strategic projects and areas of work in the Plan. It will prepare quarterly reports on delivery for the Government which will be published. It will also contribute to development of an annual update of the Plan, starting in early 2020. This will ensure that this Plan is a living document, with new actions being added each year. This follows the successful approach which was core to delivering the Action Plan for Jobs.

Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (2196)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2196. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a team has been established to facilitate the development of offshore wind; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32061/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My Department published in 2014 the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP), which set out policy for the sustainable development of our abundant offshore renewable energy resources. An interim review of the OREDP was published in May 2018 and is available on my Department’s website: www.dccae.gov.ie. The Offshore Renewable Energy Steering Group, which oversees the implementation of the OREDP, is progressing the recommendations of the review and continuing the work of implementing the actions and enablers set out in the Plan.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is preparing the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill 2019, which will introduce a new marine planning regime. My Department is assisting in the development of this Bill. The Bill will include a new, streamlined consenting regime for offshore renewable energy.

One of the actions in the All-of-Government Climate Action Plan which I have recently launched includes establishing a Top team in offshore renewables to provide a multi-organisational response to leveraging the industrial/employment opportunities arising from the operationalisation of the offshore energy policy framework under the Marine Planning and Development Management legislation. The team has yet to be established.

The All-of-Government Climate Action Plan sets out how Ireland will be stepping up ambition in the renewable electricity sector with a target of 70% of our electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2030. This will require significant changes to the operation and management of the electricity grid, to integrate wind and solar energy at scale. Indicative targets set out in the Climate Plan for non-fossil fuel technologies are at least 3.5 GW of offshore renewable energy.

Strategy for Renewable Energy

Ceisteanna (2197)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2197. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a working group on microgeneration has been established by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The All-of-Government Climate Action Plan which I recently launched will ensure that Ireland will reach our 2030 targets and will put us on the right trajectory to meet net zero emissions by 2050. One of the Plan deliverables will be the development of a support policy for micro-generation which will provide a pathway to the public to participate in and benefit from this transition. Action 30 of the Plan, which includes the establishment of a working group in Q3 2019, sets out the steps necessary and timelines for the delivery of an enabling framework for micro-generation. It is intended that the working group will be established shortly.

The Plan provides that a support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all micro-generators by 2021. As laid out in the Annex of Actions, the ESBNetworks (ESBN) and the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) will assess potential implications for the distribution network of higher penetrations of micro-generation by the end of 2019.

Building Energy Rating Administration

Ceisteanna (2198)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2198. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made towards increasing the number of businesses and homes with BERs and DECs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32063/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

A Building Energy Rating or BER is an energy rating label with an accompanying advisory report for homes. The rating is a simple A to G scale. A-rated homes are the most energy-efficient and will tend to have the lowest energy bills. A BER makes the energy performance of a home visible to prospective buyers and tenants allowing them to take energy performance into consideration in their purchase or rental decision. The Advisory Report identifies potential energy performance improvements that could lead to better comfort levels, reduced energy use and costs. An enhanced advisory report, to be made available later this year, will provide more information including on the indicative costs and grant supports available for suggested energy improvements for the property to help promote more energy upgrades.

The purpose of Display Energy Certificates is to encourage public building owners to adopt energy efficiency measures by displaying their energy performance. The Display Energy Certificate (DEC) rating is based on the measured, actual energy use of a building. This is then compared to a benchmark for similar buildings. In contrast, a BER is based on calculated energy use. The certificate shows the grade awarded, energy and CO2 performance indicators, as well as energy trends. It is required in addition to the BER and covers both privately and publicly owned large buildings.

Good progress has been made in increasing the number of businesses and homes with BERs and DECs in recent years. The Government’s Climate Action Plan includes actions aimed at further increasing the number of homes and businesses with BERs and DECs as well as maximising the potential for the certificates to help householders and businesses to decarbonise their buildings.

The number of BER certificates (split between domestic and non-domestic) and Display Energy Certificates issued in the last ten years is set out in the following table.

Year

Domestic BER

Non-domestic BER

Display Energy Certificate

2009

94,083

2,971

N/A

2010

90,380

2,754

N/A

2011

107,141

2,300

N/A

2012

74,951

2,745

N/A

2013

99,715

8,823

N/A

2014

110,173

9,810

260

2015

98,294

7,716

333

2016

93,191

6,945

370

2017

97,263

6,165

369

2018

93,821

4,661

412

2019*

47,346

2,236

159

*Year to date

Energy Efficiency

Ceisteanna (2199)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2199. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the policy developments related to district heating projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32064/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The All-of-Government Climate Action Plan which I launched last month sets out a range of actions to address the issue of climate disruption, including a commitment to develop a policy framework for the development of district heating in Ireland.

An inter-Department and inter-agency Working Group, chaired by my Department, has been established in order to develop this framework. It is intended to publish a draft policy framework for public consultation later this year.

There are also a number of supports in place for district heating.

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat supports the adoption of renewable heating systems by district heating operators.

The Climate Action Fund can provide support for the investment cost of district heating networks. Two of the successful projects from the first call under the Climate Action Fund are district heating projects – Dublin City Council’s District Heating System and South Dublin County Council’s Tallaght District Heating Scheme.

Up to €20 million is being invested in the Dublin District Heating System, which will capture waste heat generated at industrial facilities, in particular the Dublin Waste to Energy Plant in Ringsend, and piping it into homes and businesses in the Poolbeg, Ringsend and Docklands areas of Dublin city.

Up to €4.5m is being provided to establish the South Dublin County Council Tallaght District Heating Scheme, a sustainable district heating solution in the Tallaght area to provide low-carbon heat to public sector, residential and commercial customers.

Cycling Policy

Ceisteanna (2200)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2200. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made on the expansion of cycling infrastructure; if the cycling project office has been established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32067/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Climate Action Plan contains a number of commitments aimed at lowering the greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. Action 91 in the plan commits to an expansion of cycling infrastructure thought the establishment of the Cycling Project Office. This action is being led by my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) as stated in the Climate Action Plan.

Energy Efficiency

Ceisteanna (2201)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2201. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the assessment of rail fleet technology in regard to hybrid trains has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In November last year, I announced the seven successful projects from the first Call for Applications under the Climate Action Fund. This included up to €15m to support Irish Rail increasing the efficiency of the inter-city rail fleet which, will be achieved through the retrofitting of hybrid drives.

The validation process of the project, which includes detailed examination of the project, agreement of project outputs and payment timelines, is under way. Once the validation process is complete, the project will commence, which will include the detailed design of the new hybrid power-packs; the conversion of three existing diesel multiple units to the new configuration; and, following a year long in-service trial, the hybrid power-packs will be implemented across the wider fleet.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (2202)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2202. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his Department has begun its public consultation on waste policy; if so, the progress made on waste policy development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32070/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

It is intended to commence a consultation on Ireland's current waste policy, A Resource Opportunity, in September 2019, with a view to publishing an updated policy during 2020.

Energy Efficiency

Ceisteanna (2203)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2203. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if an annual progress report on energy efficiency targets will be published by the end of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Improving Ireland's energy efficiency is a fundamental part of the Government's energy policy. In 2009 Ireland set a national target for 2020 to improve its energy efficiency by 20%. This requires energy savings of 31,925 GWh. The public sector has a more challenging target of improving its own energy efficiency by 33% by 2020. This will contribute to the national effort and will also play a leadership role for the private sector to follow.

Progress towards our energy targets is monitored and reported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The latest SEAI-published data on progress against the energy efficiency target is set out in the SEAI National Energy Projections to 2030 (published in November 2018). This Report states that the provisional figure achieved for year-end 2017 on energy efficiency was 12.9%. The report is available for download at: http://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/National-Energy-Projections-to-2030.pdf. A further report with updated data on progress against our energy efficiency target will be published later this year. Ireland also reports progress against the targets on an annual basis under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.

Progress on our public sector energy efficiency target is also monitored annually. The most recent report, covering to end 2017, shows the sector had improved its energy efficiency by 24%. This improvement in efficiency has resulted in an avoided energy spend of over €1 billion and 3.56 million tonnes of avoided emissions. A copy of the most recent annual report is available at

https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Public-Sector-Annual-Report-2018.pdf.

Public Procurement Contracts

Ceisteanna (2204)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2204. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made on requiring all procurements of public funds to include green criteria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Government Decision of 3 January this year required the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) and my Department to bring forward proposals on implementing green public procurement as part of national public procurement policy and practice by end-March 2019, on foot of which the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform would issue a procurement circular to ensure that all Departments and public bodies would implement this policy.

My Department has collaborated with the OGP and is currently finalising a circular which will outline how departments and public bodies can incorporate green criteria into procurement practices and what resources and supports are in development to support this.

In line with Action 148 of the Climate Action Plan, the circular will be published during Q3 of this year. In the meantime, my Department is continuing to work with the OGP on the inclusion of green criteria in relevant procurement frameworks as they arise for renewal. My Department continues to roll out networking and training events for Government Departments, local authorities and public bodies to raise awareness of the benefits of green public procurement and to provide assistance in how to incorporate green criteria into the tender process.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ceisteanna (2205)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2205. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made in extending low-carbon initiatives to towns and villages; the number of local authorities which have established decarbonising zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32073/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I published the Climate Action Plan 2019 on 17 June. The plan sets out 183 actions which, for the first time, show how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

This Plan will be a living document, which will monitor performance and progress on agreed indicators, as well as facilitating feedback, learning and problem-solving as it evolves from year to year. A continuing schedule of regional consultative fora under the National Dialogue on Climate Action will support this process.

The Plan also envisages a coordinated step-up in the activities of key bodies to support and motivate practical action at the local authority and community levels, including leveraging existing and developing new networks and clustering initiatives, using the National Dialogue on Climate Action and Local Authority structures. The Climate Action Regional Offices will also lead a step-up in climate action within Local Authorities. Key actions envisaged under the Plan include:

- supporting the expansion in the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) from 256 now to 500 by 2020, and 1500 by 2030;

- supporting the development of Local Authority climate action leadership and capacities;

- developing exemplar decarbonisation projects in each Local Authority area;

- expanding the use of tools such as www.sustainabletoolkit.ie developed by the EPA and www.wheel.ie;

- providing improved training and support initiatives to allow community and voluntary groups enhance their capacity and understanding in the area of climate action; and

- continued support for strengthening the participation of civil society organisations in Public Participation Networks at the local level.

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Ceisteanna (2206, 2207, 2210, 2214)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

2206. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason work allocations to community-based organisations have ceased under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme due to an apparent funding shortage in view of the fact that CBOs have been working to the highest quality standards for many years and in further view of the fact that the Climate Action Plan 2019 includes ambitious plans to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32197/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

2207. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which it is planned to meet the target to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030 if funding to the 13 community-based organisations that operate under the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme has been reduced; his future plans for such CBOs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32201/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

2210. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the level of funding allocated to the 13 CBOs nationally to retrofit and roll out the SEAI's better energy warmer homes scheme for 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the number of houses allocated to the 13 CBOS under the warmer homes scheme for 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32222/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

2214. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the issue of reduced funding and lack of houses being allocated to community-based organisations which roll out the SEAI better energy warmer homes scheme will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32238/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2206, 2207, 2210 and 2214 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 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.

The following table outlines the number of homes and the amount allocated to CBOs in 2018 and 2019 YTD.

CBO Allocation

2018

2019 YTD

Deeper

Shallow

Total

Deeper

Shallow

Total

No. of Homes Allocated

116

842

958

92

203

295

Amount Paid (incl. VAT)

€4,584,628

€2,483,632

In terms of the allocations set out above, it is important to note the number of deeper homes allocated in 2019 year to date is nearing the level allocated in total for 2018. The shift towards deeper measures means that the value/cost of many of the interventions under the Scheme will be substantially up but the total volume of homes allocated to all contractors (not just CBOs) will be impacted in 2019.

While the deeper homes have been allocated to two CBOs (the two CBOs contracted to carry out deeper works under Warmer Homes Scheme), the SEAI has facilitated ‘strategic partnerships’ for CBOs in 2018 and 2019. This involved shallow-only CBOs partnering with other contractors to deliver deeper homes. This has allowed these shallow-only CBOs to gain more experience in deeper delivery and also financially benefit from the delivery of these homes, even though the allocation has not been specifically made to them.

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.

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 up-skilling 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 new 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.

Mining Industry

Ceisteanna (2208)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

2208. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on proposed gold mining in the Sperrin mountain region in Northern Ireland and its possible environmental impacts here; if he will raise the issue with the Northern Ireland authorities; and if he will raise the issue in a discussion with the relevant north-south intergovernmental bodies. [32220/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In accordance with Article 7 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Directive 2011/92/EC as amended by Directive 2014/52/EC), where a project is likely to have significant effects on the environment in another Member State, the Member State in whose territory the project is intended to be carried out is obliged to send to the affected Member State as soon as possible, inter alia, a description of the project, together with any available information on its possible transboundary impact.

No notification has been received to date by my Department from the Northern Ireland authorities in regard to any transboundary impacts. In the case where any such impacts are identified and notified, I confirm that my Department and the relevant State authorities under its aegis will engage on the matter as appropriate with the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland.