Energy Efficiency

Ceisteanna (261)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

261. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to reintroduce a scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51972/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The SEAI, funded by the government, supports LED lighting upgrades as an important energy saving measure for businesses through the Communities grant and the EXEED Scheme.

The SME LED Lighting Upgrade Scheme was a pilot scheme that ran from 2017-2019. The results from the pilot are now being evaluated and a multiple measure grant scheme aimed at the SME market, which may also support LED upgrades will be announced early in the new year.

Energy Policy Review

Ceisteanna (262, 263)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

262. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the terms of reference of the review of energy security and sustainability will be published; if he will undertake a public consultation as part of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52079/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

263. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the specific actions he will take to prevent conflicts of interest in evaluating the suitability of actions and investments by State bodies in terms of the review of energy security; if he will examine the long-term security of energy supply that is provided by increasing energy efficiency and penetration of renewable energies; if the review will address the risk to the security of supply of possible stranded assets in the energy sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52080/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 263 together.

The review of the security and sustainability of energy in Ireland is on-going in my Department. As part of this review I have already sought the input from the State energy organisations on the challenges involved. The technical analysis for the review will be conducted by independent consultants to be commissioned following a public procurement exercise. The full terms of reference for this technical analysis of energy security and sustainability are being finalised. As I recently advised the House, I expect the terms of reference will be finalised in early 2020; a public consultation process may form part of the review process.

The review into Ireland's energy security and sustainability will:

- Consider the optimal actions that need to be taken, in reaching 70% renewable electricity, to ensure Ireland's electricity system is backed up in a secure, safe and sustainable way.

- Assess the role of gas during the transition, as the lowest CO2 emitting fossil fuel, and consider how and from where it is sourced.

- Review the role that other technologies can play in the transition, including battery storage, pumped storage, the role of interconnection (both gas and electricity) and the possibilities for hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

- Consider what the roadmap for renewable electricity looks like in the period from 2030 to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050.

With regard to the Deputy’s concerns regarding any conflict of interest by State Bodies, the normal process of policy development and formulation is through engagement with stakeholders, which includes State Agencies and Bodies having statutory responsibility in relation to energy security. In relation to any investments in energy projects by State bodies under the aegis of my Department that may materialise as a result of the review, these will be evaluated, where Ministerial consent is required, in the context of Government policy, including from security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability perspectives.

In relation to energy efficiency, it is universally accepted that the first step towards security of supply and reduced emissions is to reduce the amount of energy used. Actions set out in the Climate Action Plan, which I launched in July, include the energy efficiency of buildings, including the upgrading of 500,000 homes to B2 rating, the delivery of efficient district heating systems, and the reduction in car journeys through better planning, better public transport and promoting home working, all of which are directed towards the efficient use of energy. The Plan also provides for 70% electricity from renewable sources, for 400,000 heat pumps, and for 950,000 electric vehicles by 2030.

The review will have regard to the Climate Action Plan and other relevant information. The outcome of the review will feed into the formulation of future policy on the security and sustainability of our energy systems and structures.

Ministerial Communications

Ceisteanna (264)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

264. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of his engagement, including meetings held with small and medium-sized business organisations, coffee shop owners, waste companies and environmental NGOs, regarding levies proposed for disposable cups prior to the commencement of the public consultation on proposed levies announced on 6 November 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

How we use and dispose of our resources is crucial – in fact it accounts for 60% of our emissions. We must be more conscious of the impact we are having by the daily choices we make. Sustainable alternatives exist to disposable cups and the purpose is to shift behaviour towards the use of these alternatives.

A targeted consultation is underway on the proposals, with key stakeholders such as those referred to in the question, in addition to a public consultation and it is open to all interested parties to have their say.

I also held a forum on the future of Ireland’s waste on the 16th of September. At that forum, stakeholders from industry, local authorities, waste collectors, NGOs and regulators were invited to discuss how we can deliver on our ambitious targets. There were six breakout sessions on the day and one of the items discussed was a suggestion to examine levies as a policy tool to reach targets.

Furthermore, in the context of raising awareness of Directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain products on the environment - commonly referred to as the Single Use Plastic (SUP) Directive, my Department has engaged and continues to engage with a range of stakeholders. This Directive includes an obligation on all EU Member States to introduce measures to achieve an ambitious and sustained reduction in the amount of single use plastic cups for beverages.

Landfill Sites

Ceisteanna (265)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

265. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 533 of 17 September 2019, if tenders have now been invited for the project; the closing date for receipt of tenders; the number of contractors invited to tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52097/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I refer to the reply to Question No 435 of 12 November 2019 and previous response to Question No 530 of 15 October 2019. As Kildare County Council has extended the tender period until 14 February 2020, the position remains unchanged.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Ceisteanna (266, 267)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

266. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives that highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of his Department including advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online in tabular form; and the level of expenditure for each such initiative. [52113/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

267. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of a video that highlighted schemes and programmes operated by his Department in tabular form; if such videos have been commissioned for 2020; and if so, the estimated costs of each such video. [52130/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 266 and 267 together.

The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Rail Network Safety

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (268)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

268. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there are limits on the number of passengers an intercity or passenger train can carry; if they are communicated to station staff and passengers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51920/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the 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.

The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Rail Network Safety

Ceisteanna (269)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

269. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the relevant health and safety legislation or regulations that apply to the operation of train carriages. [51921/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The railway sector in Ireland is subject to a considerable body of national and EU safety legislation. The essential requirement of the statutory framework is that railways must be run safely and within the regulatory framework which applies to the entire sector, including railway companies, network infrastructure (including rails), rolling stock (including trains and carriages), and any railway operations. Primary responsibility for safe rail operations lies with the relevant rail operator, and is overseen by and subject to the regulatory framework of the Commission for Railway Regulation (CRR), which is the independent, statutory national railway safety regulatory authority for this country.

I understand that the Deputy is specifically interested in the issue of passenger numbers in carriages. Train carriages come within the definition of "rolling stock" under the Railway Safety Act 2005 and are subject to independent safety assessment by the CRR. While there is no specific legislative provision governing capacity for passenger numbers in train carriages, train operators are required to run their services safely and the CRR, as the independent national railway safety authority, can carry out capacity loading inspections of train services to see if passenger numbers are within the design capacity of the rail vehicles.

Rail Network Safety

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (270)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

270. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if Irish Rail maintains public liability insurance for its passengers; and if so, if the insurance policy sets out passenger limits that must be obeyed. [51922/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the 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.

The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Road Safety

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (271)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

271. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has engaged with the Road Safety Authority regarding the decision to turn off lights near the junction 17 near Athenry, County Galway; and if safety assessments were carried out in advance of this decision. [51979/19]

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, maintenance 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 direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Road Safety

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (272)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

272. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the slipway and sleeper lanes in the area near the M6 plaza have been closed; if this has an impact on road safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51980/19]

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 day to day operations 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 direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Cycling Policy

Ceisteanna (273)

John Curran

Ceist:

273. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the cycling design office planned to be operational during quarter 4 of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52008/19]

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 the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including the establishment of the office referred to by the Deputy, and I can confirm that office has now been established.

Private Bus Operators

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (274, 275)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

274. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a company (details supplied) that has taken over routes in County Kildare is continuing with the same service routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52038/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

275. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an official timetable will be provided for the routes in County Kildare taken over by a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52039/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 274 and 275 together.

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

The issues raised are a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's questions to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A