Energy Schemes Data

Ceisteanna (383, 384)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

383. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of an SEAI deep retrofit scheme application by persons (details supplied); when approval will issue for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40825/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

384. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the 302 applications to the SEAI deep retrofit scheme 2019 after it was reopened; when these applicants can expect approval for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 383 and 384 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 closed for applications on 19th 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. Almost €2m has been paid in grants under the scheme to date in 2019.

As Minister, I have no function in relation to individual applications or the approval of applications. However, the SEAI has informed my officials that it has been in contact with all Service Providers in relation to their applications. Homeowners should contact their Service Provider directly for updates on project status. SEAI have further informed my Department that they expect to have cleared all applications within 4/5 weeks, depending on turnaround time with Service providers in relation to queries on elements of their applications.

While the Deep Retrofit Pilot is now closed to new applications, a number of other grants for energy efficiency works remain available. Further information on the grants available from SEAI can be found on their website. Since 2000, over 400,000 homeowners have received direct support under these schemes to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. This year €100 million has been allocated to these schemes.

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 Retrofit Taskforce that will drive the achievement of this target. The Taskforce will oversee the development of a new national delivery model, which will group homes together, create easy pay back mechanisms and find smart financing. Development of the new model will be informed by the experience from existing schemes in Ireland as well as best practice in other jurisdictions. The first meeting of the Taskforce took place on 30 September.

Energy Policy

Ceisteanna (385)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

385. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he plans to conduct a full review of energy security here; if this will include a new energy White Paper; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40881/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I have recently advised the House that I plan to conduct a review of energy security. This review will include consideration of the security of energy supply to Ireland's households and businesses as we transition to a low carbon economy, which will also address what fossil fuels are required, and how they are sourced, during that transition. There are no plans, at this time, to develop a new energy white paper. The Climate Action Plan, launched in June, sets out an ambitious course of action over the coming years to address climate disruption, including actions in the energy sector in relation to the further development of renewable energy technologies, in a pathway that would be consistent with a net zero carbon economy by 2050.

Energy Resources

Ceisteanna (386, 391)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

386. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is planning to confirm plans with the European Commission this week to build gas import terminals here as a project of common interest that would allow the importing of fracked gas from the United States of America. [40904/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat Casey

Ceist:

391. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is planning to confirm plans with the European Commission this week to build gas import terminals here as a project of common interest that would allow the importing of fracked gas from the United States of America. [41035/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 386 and 391 together.

The Shannon LNG project is a private commercial project and any decisions on the future development of this project are matters for the project promoter. The project has been designated a “Project of Common Interest” on the previous three lists of Projects of Common Interest (i.e. it has been a "Project of Common Interest" since 2013).

EU Regulation 347/2013, which provides for the designation of a project of common interest, does not override the requirement to comply with environmental law or to obtain the necessary permits or consents. Final investment decisions for the Shannon LNG project and compliance with any legal and regulatory requirements in relation to consents or permits, including environmental assessment, are the responsibility of the project promoter. Decisions on consents for the construction of an LNG plant would be a matter for the relevant consenting authorities.

At the decision making body meeting in Brussels on 4 October 2019 Ireland maintained its position on the inclusion of the Shannon LNG Project on the 4th PCI list as it enhances our energy security by increasing import route diversity. While supporting the project, Ireland also asked the Commission whether the implications of importing LNG to the European Union, from conventional and unconventional fracked sources, have been examined in terms of a sustainable, secure and competitive European energy policy. We further stated that if this work has not been carried out, we believe that it should be undertaken at EU level.

I will only consider supporting any future applications for EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding for LNG projects after a security of supply review has been completed and considered by the Government and by the Dáil, and only if these projects are consistent with national and EU climate policy objectives.

The production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas produced outside this jurisdiction would also be an operational matter for the undertakings involved. Any undertaking would be required to comply with EU law in this area.

In relation to fracked gas in Ireland, the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act 2017 provides for the prohibition of exploration for and extraction of onshore petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing.

Mobile Telephony Services

Ceisteanna (387)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

387. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to quell health concerns regarding 5G roll out; the actions he will take to ensure that information is provided on the health impact of 5G roll out here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40933/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

5G is the next generation of mobile communications and has the potential to deliver hugely enhanced connectivity. Ireland welcomes the benefits that the enhanced connectivity and technology will bring. It is expected that 5G will be commercialised over the next few years. Rollout in Ireland is primarily a matter for private mobile network operators, operating on a commercial basis.

As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have policy responsibility for matters pertaining to public exposure to non-ionising radiation. This is an area that is kept under review and earlier this year I assigned a new statutory function to the Environmental Protection Agency to provide general information to the public on matters pertaining to public exposure to non-ionising radiation, to monitor international scientific developments and provide independent advice to my Department in this area. Information is published on the EPA’s website at www.epa.ie/radiation/emf.

Ireland's policy in this area is informed by a substantial volume of internationally recognised scientific research and evidence. This includes the guidelines set down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the ICNIRP.

These guidelines provide scientifically-based exposure limits that are applicable to both public and occupational exposure from electromagnetic fields (EMF), including 5G. ICNIRP guidelines apply up to a frequency of 300 gigahertz (GHz), well above the maximum frequencies being considered for 5G. ComReg, the independent telecoms regulatory authority, ensures that licensed mobile operators comply with their licence conditions and do not exceed ICNIRP guidelines.

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

Renewable Energy Incentives

Ceisteanna (388)

John Curran

Ceist:

388. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date by end of 2019 he expects the first RESS auction to open for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41008/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Climate Action Plan commits to 70% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In order to deliver on the ambition set out in the Plan, my Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The RESS has been designed within a competitive auction-based, cost effective framework and the scheme will provide for a renewable electricity (RES-E) ambition of 70% by 2030. The terms and conditions of the first RESS auction are currently being drafted with the design of the first auction to be complete by the end of the year subject to the state aid notification process with the EU Commission. As outlined at the RESS Industry Briefing hosted by my officials on 13 September last, the qualification process will begin in December 2019 with participants being briefed on the auction and qualification procedures and the publication of the detailed timetable for the auction. The target date for the auction bidding process is June 2020.

In addition to the RESS, subsidy free renewable energy through corporate power purchase agreements provide a route to market for renewable project developers in the shorter term providing them with a real opportunity to boost Ireland's renewable energy capacity in advance of the commencement of RESS. The Climate Plan commits to a 15% target for the renewable industry to develop projects through subsidy free corporate power purchase agreements.

Energy Regulation

Ceisteanna (389)

John Curran

Ceist:

389. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether the regulatory framework, including network development, operation and delivery plans for connecting renewable energy sources are adequate to deliver on the 2030 70% renewable electricity ambition and therefore reducing the cost of fines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41009/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The regulatory framework for the Irish electricity market is mainly contained in the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999, as amended. This has been amended inter alia to reflect successive EU energy regulation legislative packages. In this regard, the EU Energy acquis, including the recently adopted Clean Energy Package, continues to shape the design, operation and regulation of the Irish electricity and gas wholesale and retail markets and the roles of the network operators and the independent regulator within the regulatory framework. The Clean Energy Package makes significant changes to the EU’s electricity regulatory policy and framework to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy.

The Climate Action Plan sets a target of 70% for renewable electricity by 2030 to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Implementation of the Climate Action Plan will be key to deliver this ambition. The Climate Action Plan notes that our 2030 decarbonisation ambition will require all sectors to step-up to achieve our EU targets. The Plan highlights the measures, actions, timelines and responsible organisations for delivery on these targets.

The Plan highlights actions to deliver on regulatory streamlining of renewables and grid development, provisions for offshore renewables, route to market for renewable electricity generation, microgeneration and carbon capture and storage and identifies the associated legislative and regulatory actions within the regulatory framework that may be required.

Energy Policy

Question No. 391 answered with Question No. 386.

Ceisteanna (390)

John Curran

Ceist:

390. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the percentage of revenue received from the income gained from the auction of allowances the units which are used for emission’s trading (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41010/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Revenue generated from the auction of allowances within the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) is divided between EU member states, mainly based on their overall ETS emissions as a proportion of total EU ETS emissions. Receipts to Ireland from these auctions have totalled €367.3 million between 2013 and 2018. Under the ETS Directive 2003/87/EC, at least 50% of the revenue generated from auctions should be used by member states to finance specific climate and energy programmes. The EU Monitoring Mechanism Regulation, EU/525/2013, requires each member state to report on their use of such revenues.

While Ireland does not, in line with Exchequer expenditure policy, formally ring-fence ETS auction revenues for specific purposes, amounts equivalent to 100% of such revenue (less ETS administration costs for the Environmental Protection Agency) in each year are attributed in EU reporting by Ireland to emission reduction activities in line with the purposes specified in the ETS Directive. This attribution does not imply that these revenues have been hypothecated for the specified purposes or that only those programmes constitute the total Exchequer expenditure for the purposes specified under the ETS Directive. Relevant Exchequer funded programmes which have been reported to date include energy efficiency, afforestation and school transport schemes.

Question No. 391 answered with Question No. 386.

National Broadband Plan Administration

Ceisteanna (392)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

392. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the roll out of the national broadband plan at a location (details supplied); if broadband will be connected in the context of the number of houses in the area that have already been connected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41036/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. The premises referenced by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. In May I 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, including finalisation of financial and legal documents. 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 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

The Deputy makes reference to the premises' proximity to a commercial deployment of high speed broadband. This deployment is part of eir's commercial roll out of high speed broadband to 300,000 predominantly rural premises, in line with a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

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

Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commercial basis. I have no statutory role or function in such commercial decisions of private operators, and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (393)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

393. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of contingency plans at Dublin Port in the event of a hard Brexit; if the systems that have been put in place to deal with Brexit at the port have been subject to testing by external experts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40516/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Government’s Contingency Action Plan of July 2019 outlined the interagency works underway by Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Health, HSE Environmental Health Service, and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland to ensure optimal goods trade traffic flows at our key ports and airports.

This work is advanced and I understand that the Revenue Commissioners are leading on the necessary IT changes for October 2019 readiness. Testing of the robustness of the proposed inter-agency arrangements by the relevant agencies is continuing. In addition, the testing of traffic flows in the Port is also underway. An inter-department group, under the Chair of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, is in place to coordinate this work.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (394)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

394. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the capacity at Dublin Port for trucks in the event of a no-deal Brexit and trucks are subsequently subject to checks and so on; his views on whether capacity is sufficient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The CSO publish figures annually for traffic in and out of the ports. These can be found at the following link: www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/spt/statisticsofporttraffic2018/. For ease of reference the relevant tables are attached at Appendix 1.

Additionally Dublin Port publishes quarterly figures on their website. These can be accessed at: www.dublinport.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DPC-Throughput-Statistics-Q2-2019.pdf. For ease of reference the relevant tables are attached at Appendix 2.

As you will understand, the number of units can vary greatly from day to day due to seasonal factors or day of the week. Dublin Port has an estimated daily average of 2700 RoRo units and 2000 LoLo TEUs.

Feedback from Dublin Port, as well as other Irish ports, is that they have spare capacity.

In relation to contingency plans, the Government has extensive preparations in place for a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October 2019. In its Action Plan published in July 2019, the Government acknowledged that a no deal Brexit will be highly disruptive and will have profound implications across all aspects of society. It will be impossible for the UK to maintain the current seamless arrangements with the EU across the full range of sectors including transport connectivity, trade flows and supply chains. The contingency plans in place, including in the transport sector, will mitigate but cannot eliminate the impacts of a no-deal Brexit.

The re-introduction of customs or border controls as a consequence of Brexit will undoubtedly increase transit times for all traffic travelling via or from the UK to Continental Europe, including for many Irish importers and exporters.

The three locations for which Ireland is heavily dependent on connectivity to the UK are Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and Rosslare Europort. The Office of Public Works has worked with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in delivering the required facilities for these agriculture, health and customs checks at these locations. Temporary facilities are now in place to meet the needs of these agencies. Additional staffing in Customs, Agriculture and Health have been recruited and trained to provide the necessary support and to manage the efficient movement of freight and people through these locations.

The necessary associated staffing and IT systems are also in place. Testing of the relevant IT systems is continuing. Communications with stakeholders is ongoing and will continue during October 2019.

My Department is working closely with other agencies to have appropriate traffic management plans in place in the event that there is significant congestion in Dublin Port that impacts on wider traffic flows in the surrounding Dublin road network.

Rural Transport Services

Ceisteanna (395)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

395. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason vehicles that are more than 15 years old and are deemed road worthy do not qualify for the rural transport scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40564/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the Local Link brand.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter I have forwarded your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (396)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

396. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to recent social media videos (details supplied); if he has contacted Luas regarding the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40567/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport.

I have, therefore, forwarded the Deputy's question to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which has contracted Transdev to operate the Luas, for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Driver Licences

Ceisteanna (397)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

397. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the procedure by which a holder of a British driver licence will be able to obtain an Irish licence if they seek to obtain one after 31 October 2019 in the context of a hard Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40568/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Motorists resident in Ireland with a UK, including NI driving licence are being advised to exchange that licence for an Irish driving licence before the 31 October 2019. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will no longer be a Member State and so the UK driving licence will not be recognised. People resident in Ireland will no longer be able to drive on a UK driving licence.

However, legislation exists to allow for the recognition of foreign driving licences for exchange purposes in the Road Traffic Acts. If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK becomes a 3rd country and the potential then exists for arrangements to be made under those Acts. Ireland will be pursuing this option. This may take a little time to complete as it involves a formal agreement and legislation here in Ireland, as well as corresponding steps by the UK.

Bus Éireann Services

Ceisteanna (398)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

398. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the lack of capacity to cater for all commuters to avail of some early morning services on the NX route from Navan, County Meath will be reviewed with Bus Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40649/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (399)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

399. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if all the necessary infrastructure will be in place and be ready to be operationalised at Rosslare Port on 31 October 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Government has extensive preparations in place for a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October 2019. The Office of Public Works has worked across Government with relevant agencies and Departments in delivering the necessary facilities for the additional agriculture, health and customs checks at Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and at Rosslare Europort. Rosslare Europort is operated on a commercial basis as a division of Iarnród Éireann.

In the case of Rosslare, a 16 acre temporary Border Inspection Post (BIP) and facilities has been designed and built by the OPW. Additional resources in Customs, Agriculture and Health have been recruited and trained by the relevant agencies to provide the necessary support and to ensure the efficient movement of freight and people through the port.

Communications literature and workshops have been completed and are on-going with state agencies and industry. Traffic Management plans are in place and being finalised for 31st October with state agencies, Wexford Co Council and the road haulage industry. As part of the preraredness arrangements, I am advised that a further stakeholder event, including ferry companies, haulage companies, the State agencies, and Wexford County Council is scheduled for later this week.

The longer term designs for permanent facilities are underway, and will link in with the Masterplan designs for the development of the port, also incorporating further improved road access and connections.

Taxi Regulations

Ceisteanna (400)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

400. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); the number of taxis affected by this issue; and the persons or bodies which will be held responsible for same. [40684/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including wheelchair accessible taxis and wheelchair accessible hackneys, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

Accordingly, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (401)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

401. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of funding that has been provided to Transport Infrastructure Ireland to undertake noise abatement measures in relation to the M50; his plans for noise abatement in terms of barriers or other measures to offer protection against noise pollution to communities living adjacent to the M50; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40698/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction, including noise mitigation measures, for individual national roads is a matter for TII, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Directive 2002/49/EC on the assessment and management of environmental noise was transposed into Irish law by the Environmental Noise Regulations, 2006. This legislation requires Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and local authorities to undertake strategic noise mapping every five years for all major roads carrying in excess of 8,250 annual average daily traffic (AADT). Noise maps identify and prioritise cluster areas which will require further assessment and may require mitigation measures to be put in place.

Once strategic noise maps have been produced, the results are used for each local authority to develop Noise Action Plans as required by the Environmental Noise Regulations. Under the Regulations, the Noise Action Planning Authorities are required to consult with the public when revising their current Plans.

On foot of the revision of the Dublin Agglomeration Noise Maps in 2017 the four local authorities within the Dublin Agglomeration carried out a review of the Noise Action Plan 2013-2018.

Following on from the review and after public consultation, a finalised revised Action Plan was produced which came into effect in December 2018. This plan is a continuation of the 2013-2018 Noise Action Plan and sets out broad principles and actions to mitigate excessive environmental noise and protect areas of good acoustical quality within the Dublin Agglomeration.

Specifically in relation to the M50, I have referred your question to TII for a more detailed and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Air Quality

Ceisteanna (402)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

402. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the mitigation measures his Department is putting in place to offset the health and safety risks posed by over 7,000 vehicles which utilise the N24 to drive through Tipperary town every day (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40705/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the operation and management of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a more detailed and direct reply . Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (403)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

403. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the capital expenditure of his Department from 1 January to 31 August 2019 under the heading of B8.1 smarter travel-sustainable urban transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40732/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, funding provided under this subhead is in relation to capital expenditure programmes and is part of a multi-annual capital funding programme.

The timing of expenditure on programmes such as this is by its nature dependent on a number of variables and therefore monthly or quarterly expenditure must be viewed within that context.

It is the case that each year the majority of funding is drawn down toward the year end and overall reporting on programme expenditure is then made available through the Department's publicly available annual Appropriation Accounts and related reports to, and appearances before, the Oireachtas.

Bus Services

Ceisteanna (404)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

404. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the National Transport Authority is considering the introduction of a dedicated bus service under the LocalLink brand to service the route between Glenties and Donegal town in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme, which now operates under the Local Link brand.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Trans European Transport Network Programme

Ceisteanna (405)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

405. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has received a formal request from officials in Donegal County Council to meet with a view to discussing the proposed TEN-T priority route improvement project, specifically the Ballybofey, Stranorlar Bypass component of the scheme; if so, when he is likely to be in a position to facilitate such a meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40762/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned and in this case Donegal County Council. As a matter of course, my officials engage closely and on an ongoing basis with TII and local authorities on their roads programmes.

In that context, I am not aware of any request from officials in Donegal County Council for a meeting with myself, as against my officials, in respect of the TEN-T Route Improvement project. However, I'm pleased to advise that Donegal County Council was recently recommended for co-funding, under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport 2019 call for proposals, for its TEN-T Priority Route Improvement Project.

The project concerns the studies or preparatory work required to remove bottlenecks over a length of 31 km at three road sections, namely Ballybofey to Stranorlar, to which you refer, including Letterkenny to Manorcunningham; and Manorcunningham to Lifford/Strabane. This covers the designs and reports required to obtain the necessary statutory and other approvals to facilitate the future construction.

The total eligible cost of this project is €8.67 million, of which 50% or €4.335 million has been recommended for funding under CEF. The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will shortly finalise and sign a grant agreement with the Council, at the latest by January 2020. The final co-funding amount will be contingent on this grant agreement and an agreed project and expenditure plan being implemented by Donegal County Council with INEA oversight.

Further details are available on the European Commission’s website at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/news-events/newsroom/eur117-million-sustainable-transport-infrastructure-europe.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (406)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

406. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of an application for sports capital by a club (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40886/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding.

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May.

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works, including an application from the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (407)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

407. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he last met formally with the chairperson and-or chief executive officer of Iarnród Éireann; when he will next meet formally with the chairperson and or chief executive officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40917/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I last met with both the Chair of the Board of Iarnród Éireann and the company's Chief Executive Officer on 8th August last. Our next meeting has not yet been scheduled.