Farms Data

Ceisteanna (1461)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

1461. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the 2019 national reserve and young farmers scheme by county in tabular form. [36835/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The number of applications to the 2019 National Reserve and the 2019 Young Farmers Scheme by county is set out in the table below.

In addition to the figures shown, there are further applications under these schemes which were submitted under temporary reference numbers where an application for a herd number has been made and is currently being processed. Therefore, the figures provided are subject to change.

County

Young Farmers Scheme

National Reserve

CARLOW

122

9

CAVAN

412

34

CLARE

416

41

CORK

1,155

92

DONEGAL

373

37

DUBLIN

44

2

GALWAY

894

76

KERRY

534

58

KILDARE

145

8

KILKENNY

334

20

LAOIS

300

14

LEITRIM

246

15

LIMERICK

413

54

LONGFORD

173

14

LOUTH

97

2

MAYO

814

57

MEATH

300

31

MONAGHAN

251

27

OFFALY

286

17

ROSCOMMON

379

30

SLIGO

242

32

TIPPERARY

563

37

WATERFORD

249

8

WESTMEATH

209

13

WEXFORD

371

20

WICKLOW

154

6

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (1462)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

1462. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the outcome of recent talks with farming organisations and meat industry representatives in relation to the serious difficulties facing the beef sector; if particular measures have been implemented following the talks; if so, the actions he plans to take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36902/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I share the Deputy's concerns about the ongoing serious difficulties facing the beef sector.

Progress was made on a range of issues after long and detailed negotiations in August, including in relation to improvements in transparency along the supply chain, and in communications between industry and farmers and a review of some market specifications.

The agreement includes commitments on:

- Review of the grid;

- Review of the in-spec criteria for the quality payment system bonus;

- Availability of carcass images to farmers;

- Appeals system for carcass classification in manually grading factories;

- Publication of an expert report on new technology in mechanical carcass classification and

- Promotional initiatives for the beef sector;

- Market transparency initiatives, including more detailed price reporting, and the transposition of the EU Directive on Unfair Trading Practices.

Full details of the Backweston Agreement are available at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/farmingsectors/beef/StakeholderConclusions210819.pdf

There has been significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the duration of this dispute and I believe that there is now a basis for the renewal of talks between the parties. These talks have been scheduled for next Monday, 9 September.

We have reached a point where it is critically important for the future of the sector that stakeholders engage in a spirit of compromise to resolve a dispute that has the potential to inflict long term damage on the sector if it continues. It is clear that this can only happen if processors and protestors step back from court proceedings and illegal blockades, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to proceed.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (1463)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

1463. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if talks will be convened with farming organisations, representatives of the meat industry and retailers in view of the ongoing serious difficulties facing the beef sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36903/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I share the Deputy's concerns about the ongoing serious difficulties facing the beef sector.

There has been significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the duration of this dispute and I believe that there is now a basis for the renewal of talks between the parties. These talks have been scheduled for next Monday 9th September.

We have reached a point where it is critically important for the future of the sector that stakeholders engage in a spirit of compromise to resolve a dispute that has the potential to inflict long term damage on the sector if it continues. It is clear that this can only happen if processors and protestors step back from court proceedings and illegal blockades, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to proceed.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (1464)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1464. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he has endeavoured to resolve the concerns of beef producers with particular reference to the need to ensure that the industry is fully operational as Brexit approaches; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36912/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I share the Deputy's concerns about the ongoing serious difficulties facing the beef sector, particularly in view of the very significant threat posed to the sector by the possibility of a no-Deal Brexit in the near future.

Progress was made on a range of issues after long and detailed negotiations in August, including in relation to improvements in transparency along the supply chain, and in communications between industry and farmers and a review of some market specifications.

The agreement includes commitments on:

- Review of the grid;

- Review of the in-spec criteria for the quality payment system bonus;

- Availability of carcass images to farmers;

- Appeals system for carcass classification in manually grading factories;

- Publication of an expert report on new technology in mechanical carcass classification and

- Promotional initiatives for the beef sector;

- Market transparency initiatives, including more detailed price reporting, and the transposition of the EU Directive on Unfair Trading Practices.

Full details of the Backweston Agreement are available at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/farmingsectors/beef/StakeholderConclusions210819.pdf

There has been significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the duration of this dispute and I believe that there is now a basis for the renewal of talks between the parties. These talks have been scheduled for next Monday, 9 September.

We have reached a point where it is critically important for the future of the sector that stakeholders engage in a spirit of compromise to resolve a dispute that has the potential to inflict long term damage on the sector if it continues. It is clear that this can only happen if processors and protestors step back from Court proceedings and illegal blockades, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to proceed.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (1465)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1465. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he remains satisfied that all possible actions have been taken by his Department in anticipation of a UK crash out from the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36914/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Brexit poses enormous challenges for the agri-food and fisheries sectors by virtue of their exposure to the UK market. The focus of my Department's activities has been to simultaneously put in place supports to help the agrifood sector to deal with the impact of Brexit, while, at the same time, taking the practical steps to prepare for the range of control and other activities that will be required. This work has concentrated in particular over the last twelve months on the preparations for a no-deal Brexit, and there is now a renewed focus on both fine-tuning our arrangements ahead of 31 October and ensuring effective communication on the matter with all stakeholders.

Since the extension to 31 October was granted, my Department has used the time to continue our Brexit preparedness work, within a whole-of-Government effort, in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the agrifood sector. My Department has placed a heavy focus on improving our infrastructure facilities at Dublin and Rosslare Port and at Dublin airport, having the necessary staffing in place, and refining and testing our IT systems to ensure they are operating optimally in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In addition, my Department, in collaboration with other Government Departments and agencies, continues to actively communicate with businesses trading with the UK and is encouraging relevant operators to register with the Department so that they are in a position to meet with the regulatory requirements required to continue trading with the UK post Brexit. My Department has prepared a Business Preparedness Checklist for the agri- sector and will host a series of stakeholder events on Brexit preparedness planning over the coming weeks.

I have also introduced a number of supports to assist the agri-food sector in preparing to address the challenges posed by Brexit over the last number of years, and the Government stands ready to respond to a possible hard Brexit through the implementation of measures that will seek to mitigate the impact on vulnerable sectors and groups.

Work on no-deal Brexit preparations is on-going and continues to receive the highest priority in my Department and across Government. We continue to work closely with the Commission, our EU partners, businesses and citizens to mitigate as far as possible the impacts of a no deal Brexit, and ensure that we are as prepared as we can be for the changes it will bring.

Electric Vehicle Grants

Ceisteanna (1466)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

1466. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce a grant for the purchase of e-bikes similar to the e-car incentive. [35007/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

There is currently a generous range of supports available to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles. A grant of up to €5,000 is provided to support the purchase of new electric vehicles. In order to qualify for the purchase grant, the electric vehicle must be classified as M1 (passenger vehicle) or N1 (light commercial vehicle) and meet certain requirements including criteria relating to range and tailpipe emissions.

The purchase grant does not currently support e-bikes. While there are no plans to introduce such a support, the terms and conditions of the purchase grant, including the types of vehicle supported, are kept under review to ensure they meet their policy objectives.

Waste Disposal Charges

Ceisteanna (1467)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

1467. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce support for persons that have lifelong or long-term medical needs (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35098/19]

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.

While there are complex issues at play in this area, which are understandable given the sensitive nature of the medical data in question, my Department is continuing to examine options to address this issue.

Building Energy Rating Compliance

Ceisteanna (1468, 1504)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1468. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which the target of 50,000 retrofitted houses per year will be met in view of the fact that funding has run out for the deep retrofit pilot programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35460/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

1504. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to achieve the goals as set out in the Climate Action Plan 2019 particularly in relation to the stated aim of upgrading half a million homes to B2 BER in view of the lack of funding of the SEAI for the full deep retrofit scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35532/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1468 and 1504 together.

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme is a time bound pilot which aims to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. Having been initiated in 2017, the pilot predates the Climate Action Plan. The scheme was intended to run for three years and, as such, closed for applications on 19 July, which was in line with the published scheme Application Guidelines. However, grants will continue to be paid as approved projects are completed this year and next.

The Government's programme of mainstream and pilot grant schemes for retrofit is funded by my Department and operated by the SEAI. Since 2000, over 400,000 homes have received direct support under these schemes to improve their energy efficiency. This year, demand has been extremely high for these schemes, including the Deep Retrofit Pilot. The total budget allocation for SEAI retrofit grants in 2019 is €100 million.

The Climate Action Plan commits to reviewing and redesigning these grant schemes to ensure alignment with Government climate objectives and value for money. The plan also sets an ambitious target of 500,000 energy efficiency retrofits by 2030. Achievement of this target will be supported by the Project Ireland 2040 allocation of €3.7 billion as well as the range of measures identified in the plan.

I recently announced the establishment of a taskforce that will drive the achievement of this target. The taskforce will primarily be responsible for the development of a new retrofitting delivery model, which will, inter alia, group retrofits together to achieve economies of scale, ensure supports for households with lower incomes, and leverage private finance in addition to grant support.

Building Energy Rating Compliance

Ceisteanna (1469, 1470, 1511, 1512)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1469. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the historical application costs per application for the now closed deep retrofit scheme; the sum collected in application costs for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35563/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1470. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of applications received for the deep retrofit scheme since the pilot commenced to the date on which the scheme closed; the number approved; the number refused; the number pending on the closing date for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35564/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1511. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the historical application costs per application for the now closed deep retrofit scheme; the amount collected in application costs for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1512. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of applications received for the deep retrofit scheme since the pilot commenced to the date on which the scheme closed; the number approved, refused and pending, respectively on the closing date for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35585/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1469, 1470, 1511 and 1512 together.

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017 as a time bound pilot to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. The scheme was intended to run for three years and closed for applications on 19 July in line with the published Application Guidelines.

The scheme is funded by my Department and operated by the SEAI. The pilot provides 50% funding for energy upgrades to an A BER rating with 95% funding provided for low-income households. The total budget for the scheme this year is €10 million – double the amount spent on the scheme last year. The latest data available indicates that €1.2 million has been paid in grants under the scheme in 2019.

The scheme operates via a lead applicant, or service provider, which could apply for support for projects involving five or more homes. SEAI evaluates each project against the scheme criteria and offers funding to successful applications via a grant approval letter of offer.

SEAI has not collected any application fees in respect of the scheme. The information required as part of an application are set out in the scheme application guidelines. This can entail a pre BER assessment and an air tightness test being undertaken for each home in the project. SEAI provides financial support towards the associated cost for projects that are successfully completed, per the scheme application guidelines.

The table below sets out the number of applications received, approved, withdrawn and pending on the closing date of the scheme. Applications are classified as "received" when all necessary information is provided. Projects are classified as "complete" when all homes in a project are fully completed and Building Energy Ratings for each are published.

Project Status

2017

2018

2019

Total

Total Applications Received

7

41

67

115

Approved: Complete

1

24

9

34

Approved: In Progress

9

14

23

Pending: Under Evaluation

51

51

Withdrawn

7

7

The Government’s Climate Action Plan commits to reviewing and redesigning the existing grant schemes to ensure alignment with Government climate objectives and value for money. The Plan also sets an ambitious target of 500,000 energy efficiency retrofits by 2030. Achievement of this target will be supported by the Project Ireland 2040 allocation of €3.7 billion as well as the range of measures identified in the plan.

I recently announced the establishment of a taskforce that will drive the achievement of this target. The taskforce will primarily be responsible for the development of a new retrofitting delivery model, which will, inter alia, group retrofits together to achieve economies of scale, provide supports for households with lower incomes and leverage private finance and grant support. Development of the new model will be informed by the experience from existing schemes in Ireland including the Deep Retrofit Pilot as well as best practice in other jurisdictions.

Nuclear Safety

Ceisteanna (1471)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

1471. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the radiation measurements taken in County Donegal in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster have been retained by his Department; and if so, if he will make them available to the public. [36477/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Between 1973 and 1992, the Nuclear Energy Board (NEB) was the organisation in Ireland responsible for matters relating to ionising radiation, including any radiation measurements taken in the aftermath of the Chernobyl incident.

Those functions are now the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the retention of specific records and their publication is solely a matter for the Agency.

A report on the effects of Chernobyl on Ireland is available on the EPA's website at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/radiation/chernobylitseffectonireland.html.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (1472)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1472. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated first- and final-year cost of the introduction of a 15 cent levy on single-use coffee cups. [36894/19]

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 this matter.

The Government’s recent Climate Action Plan will step up ambition in this area and contains a specific action to scope a number of possible environmental levies including on single use plastics, as part of a review of the Environment Fund. Work is currently underway on this action and a report outlining possible levy options is due to be submitted to me shortly.

Prior to the introduction of any new levy, further detailed research would be required, including a regulatory impact assessment, which would address implementation costs and revenue generation.

Environmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (1473, 1474)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

1473. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the consultation that took place on a project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

1474. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the consultation that took place on a project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34749/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1473 and 1474 together.

The consultation/assessment process for both Projects NSAD-17-003 (Erriff Bank Protection) and Project SCF-17-0005 (Carrowniskey) included the following elements

- A screening for Appropriate Assessment for the proposed works;

- the submission of screening to the National Parks and Wildlife Service; and,

- consultation with the land owners and receipt of their consent to the works.

In view of the number of questions tabled recently by the Deputy in relation to fisheries projects, I have offered him a briefing with Inland Fisheries Ireland. I reiterate that offer.

Environmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (1475)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

1475. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the consultant report will be provided for a project (details supplied); the cost of the report; if the costs of the report came from the funding allocated under the National Strategy for Angling Development 2015-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34750/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

A screening for appropriate assessment was carried out in relation to the proposed works included in project reference no. SCF-17-0026 (Crolly River). This assessment concluded that there would be no significant impact on the Natura Sites in the vicinity of the works. I can provide a copy of this assessment to the Deputy for his information.

This assessment cost €2,398.50 including VAT to prepare. This was not funded from the allocation provided specifically for the National Strategy For Angling Development.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (1476)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1476. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which he remains satisfied that carbon emissions throughout the EU are measured equally with a view to ensuring that the more developed countries in the EU do not have the advantage over expanding economies such as Ireland with a view to an evenly spread advantage or disadvantage throughout the EU and noting in particular the relatively low rate of heavy carbon emitting industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34768/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares inventories of past, and projections of future, greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland on an annual basis. Inventories and projections are compiled by the EPA according to international standards to meet EU and UN reporting obligations and to inform national policy development.

The EU Effort Sharing Regulation, which entered into force on 9 July 2018, sets out binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for each Member State for the period 2021 to 2030. Ireland’s target under this regulation will be for a 30% reduction on 2005 levels of non-ETS emissions by 2030.

Targets for Member States were established based on a range of criteria, including GDP per capita and the cost-effectiveness of domestic emissions reductions within each Member State. During the Effort Sharing Regulation negotiations, Ireland emphasised the need to prioritise a successful conclusion aimed at retaining a high environmental ambition for the EU, but also providing each Member State with the capacity to contribute to that ambition in a cost-effective and fair manner. I am satisfied that the regulation provides appropriate recognition of different Member State circumstances, and the need to provide flexibility to reduce emissions as cost-effectively as possible in the context of the overall EU target.

The recently published Climate Action Plan 2019 sets out for the first time how Ireland will reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The plan sets out, in Chapter 3, the expected emissions abatement contribution from existing commitments under Project Ireland 2040 and from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) measures. The plan includes the necessary targets and measures, supported by detailed actions and roadmaps, to close the identified remaining gap of 58.4 MtCO2eq in the non-ETS sector. The relevant table is reproduced below.

-

Carbon Budget

Compliance Gap

Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) Ceiling

378.3 Mt

-

Projected Emissions (Pre-NDP)

479.9 Mt

101.6 Mt

Contribution of Project Ireland 2040 NDP Measures

- 16.4 Mt

85.2 Mt

Contribution of LULUCF

- 26.8 Mt

58.4 Mt

Contribution of Climate Action Plan 2019

- 58.4 Mt

0 Mt

Ireland supports strong EU ambition in order to contribute to the Paris Agreement objectives. The Climate Action Plan confirms Ireland’s support for increased EU climate ambition and the adoption of a net zero target by 2050 at EU level, including in the context of the importance of the EU reaffirming its role as a global leader in relation to ambitious climate action, and also in view of the upcoming UN Climate Summit later this month.

The transition to climate neutral economy will present both challenges and opportunities, and require additional changes across all sectors of the economy. Under the new Climate Action Plan I have committed to evaluate in detail the changes that would be necessary in pursuit of this objective at a national level.

Under the Plan, I have also committed to bring forward a new Climate Action (Amendment) Bill which will make the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement, require the Government to set a decarbonisation target range for each sector over five year periods, and establish a 2050 target in law.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (1477)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1477. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if afforestation, the use of bog lands as carbon repositories and wind generated electricity can each contribute to carbon reduction with a view to improving the progress of Ireland in line with international agreements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34769/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

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

The plan confirms that afforestation will have a key role to play in delivering emissions reductions and helping Ireland to achieve its 2030 targets. It commits, under Action 116, to implementing the Forest Programme 2014 to 2020 in line with the Mid-Term Review recommendations. Our commitment is to plant 440 million trees by 2040.

Better management of peatlands and soils under Actions 131 to 134 in the Plan will support the protection and enhancement of the carbon sink function of peatland landscapes, including through assessment and implementation of mitigation options on post-production, peat extraction sites, and the implementation of measures for peatlands conservation.

In relation to renewable electricity, the plan sets a target of increasing the share of electricity generated from renewable sources to 70% by 2030, indicatively comprised as follows:

- at least 3.5 GW of offshore renewable energy

- up to 1.5 GW of grid-scale solar energy

- up to 8.2 GW total of increased onshore wind capacity

The exact level of offshore wind, onshore wind, solar and other renewable technology will be determined by a new system of competitive auctions where the lowest cost technology will be determined.

The plan includes a number of actions to deliver this target, including regulatory streamlining of renewables and grid development; development of the offshore renewables sector; implementation of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme; and the development of an enabling framework for micro-generation.

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (1478)

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

1478. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the supports provided under the Climate Action Plan 2019 for the Tallaght district heating scheme; the objectives of the scheme; the role of his Department in overseeing the development of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34825/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The South Dublin County Council Tallaght District Heating Scheme project is one of the seven successful projects under the first call for applications from the Climate Action fund.

The Climate Action Fund is overseen by an Advisory Board which is chaired by my Department and includes representatives from the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government; the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; and independent experts.

The South Dublin County Council project will receive support up to a maximum level of €4.45 million. As part of the Climate Action Fund process, the project is currently at the validation stage which includes more detailed examination of the project, agreement of project outputs and payment timelines. It is expected this will complete later this year and the project will then proceed to delivery.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (1479)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

1479. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the name of each person employed as an adviser or special adviser to him and the Minister of State in his Department; the salary of each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34841/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

This information is published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on their website.

Mining Licences

Ceisteanna (1480, 1481, 1482, 1483)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1480. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the basis for the ongoing policy that mining is not licensed in national parks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34896/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1481. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the basis for the decision that mining is not licensed in and around Croagh Patrick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34897/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1482. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will consider adopting a policy that no further mining licences will be granted in or near natural heritage sites in view of the environmental and natural heritage sensitivities of Natura 2000 sites of natural heritage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34898/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1483. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if she will consider adopting a policy that no further mining licences will be granted in areas of outstanding scenic amenity in view of planning policy directives issued to local authorities in relation to the preservation of areas of outstanding scenic amenity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34899/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1480 to 1483, inclusive, together.

It is the policy of my Department not to issue Prospecting Licences (PL) within the boundaries of National Parks as published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). My Department has redrawn the boundaries of existing Prospecting Licences so that they do not overlap with National Parks’ boundaries. As the boundaries of National Parks may change from time to time, my Department maintains regular contact with the NPWS to ensure that it is aware of up to date information on any boundary changes.

There are exceptional circumstances where it may be the case that NPWS may agree to the issue of a Prospecting Licence over an area which contains part of a National Park if it enhances their knowledge and be in the interest of the National Park.

In relation to Croagh Patrick, I understand that in May 1990 the then Minister for Energy made a decision to exclude this area from Prospecting Licensing because of the special cultural and religious significance of the area.

For any proposed prospecting works within or in close proximity to Natura 2000 sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs)), screening of any potential impact on such sites is undertaken by my Department in compliance with the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (SI 477 of 2011) and my Department consults with the NPWS in considering whether such works should be approved.

With regard to mining, there is a requirement for a number of statutory permissions to be obtained before any proposed mining activity receives permission to commence. These include Planning Permission from the Local Authority and an Integrated Pollution Control Licence (IPC) from the Environmental Protection Agency. As part of this process, the applicant must prepare a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support their application to the Local Authority for Planning Permission.

These permitting processes take into account natural heritage sensitivities of Natura 2000 sites in the EIS as well as providing for statutory consultation with a wide range of bodies including this Department. It would be a matter for the Local Authority to take into account the preservation of areas of outstanding scenic amenity as part of the EIS process and this is not a matter for my Department.

The applicant must also apply to my Department for a State Mining Facility (i.e. a mining lease/ licence), the consideration of which also requires public consultation. A State Mining Facility would not be granted until both Planning Permission and an IPC Licence have been obtained.

Inland Fisheries

Ceisteanna (1484, 1506, 1507)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1484. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to bring in a new statutory instrument to replace Statutory Instrument 906, which related to salmonid waters and was annulled; his plans to give particular protection to the salmonid rivers and lakes of the west of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34903/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1506. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce a by-law to enable anglers on loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra to remove four coarse fish from the lakes at any one session of fishing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35554/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1507. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to reintroduce by-law 906, which was introduced initially by the Minister of State; if so, if it will be as was; if not, if it will be amended; when he plans to address the matter; if an appropriate assessment has been carried out in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35555/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1484, 1506 and 1507 together.

The existing Bye-law No. 806 of 2006 provides for persons to take and kill up to 4 coarse fish per day. These provisions apply throughout the State.

There is no reference in secondary legislation related to inland fisheries to “Statutory Instrument 906”. However, I assume the Deputy is referring to Bye-law 964 of 2018 which related to several lakes and which was annulled in the High Court following the initiation of legal proceedings . The preparation of a new Bye-law has recently commenced and its content and progress will be subject to legal advice and technical/scientific advice, particularly as regards EU legislation and other appropriate issues.

I would emphasise that, in the meantime, the lakes referred to by the Deputy and other lakes have long been designated, as a matter of policy, for management primarily for the benefit of wild brown trout and that policy designation remains. I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that Stock Management Plans in respect of these and other lakes for 2019 were agreed by its Board.

Salmon in all waters in Ireland are afforded specific protection via established fisheries policy, licensing, tagging, the opening and closing of fisheries based on the state of their stock and annual conservation legislation. Ireland’s protection of salmon is considered best in class internationally and aligns fully with the EU Habitats Directive and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) principles.

The salmon management regime also applies to sea-trout over 40cms in length and the potential to extend similar protection policies to other salmonid species could be considered to afford particular protection to salmonids generally.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (1485, 1518)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

1485. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the average number of new vehicles sold here in each of the past 10 years; the number of electric vehicles cars sold in each of the past ten years; his plans based on this to ensure a million electric vehicles will be registered here by 2030; the yearly targets for the sale of electric vehicles that inform this policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34905/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

1518. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has examined the roll-out of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and incentives for persons to change to EVs in other jurisdictions, in particular Scandinavia, which may provide templates for action here to decarbonise transport systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35716/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1485 and 1518 together.

The following table provides data on new vehicles licensed for the first time over the last ten years in Ireland which is available from the Central Statistics Office. The data shown include the total number of new vehicles, the number of new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and the number of new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) licensed in each year. It should be noted that data on new PHEVs prior to 2015 is not readily available.

Year

New Vehicles

New BEVs

New PHEVs

2009

73,125

59

2010

103,076

66

2011

105,761

103

2012

95,093

215

2013

92,887

72

2014

117,652

238

2015

153,850

497

123

2016

181,293

411

286

2017

161,840

664

261

2018

157,865

1,328

727

As part of the Climate Action Plan, which was published in June of this year, the Government set a target of 936,000 electric vehicles to be on the road by 2030. While no annual targets were set out in the plan, the modelling that provides an analytical foundation for the plan indicates a level of circa 180,000 would need to be achieved by 2025.

The Climate Action Plan sets out a range of actions that will support the delivery of the Government's target. This includes a strong focus on developing the charging infrastructure necessary to stay sufficiently ahead of demand. The policies and measures put in place to develop the charging infrastructure will include examination of international examples with high electric vehicle uptake.

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.

Last week, I announced funding to support the rollout by Local Authorities of up to 1,000 on-street public charge points for electric vehicles over the next 5 years. The SEAI will administer this support and are currently developing the detailed terms and conditions for the scheme which I expect to open for applications later this month.

A support scheme is also in place to support electric vehicle charging at home This scheme provides grant aid of up to €600 to support the purchase and installation of a home charger, for purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles.

In addition, there is a generous range of supports available to support the purchase of electric vehicles. These supports include a purchase grant of up to €5,000; Vehicle Registration Tax relief of up to €5,000; Accelerated Capital Allowances; Benefit-in-Kind relief for battery electric vehicles; and a discount on tolls of up to 50%.