Just Transition Fund

Ceisteanna (78)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

78. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications the definition of a just transition; and if the information on which the definition is based will be provided. [29509/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The 2019 Climate Action Plan defines just transition as the need to plan appropriately to ensure that areas most affected by Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient society are supported and equipped to contribute to this transition, while ensuring a strong economy and the availability of suitable enterprise and employment opportunities. The Programme for Government notes that the transition to a low-carbon future will unleash huge changes in society that, while presenting significant challenges, will also bring a range of opportunities, the impacts of which will be unevenly spread and will manifest themselves in different ways. The Programme for Government, therefore, affirms the necessity for a just transition pathway to be found, which delivers alternative job opportunities to sectors and regions most affected, and ensures that vulnerable groups are helped, as transformative policies are implemented. This will require the anticipation of challenges and planning for responses to them.

At EU level, the European Commission Communication on a European Green Deal, published in December 2019, identifies the role of just transition in supporting the low carbon transition in a fair and inclusive way, and sets out the objective of managing the transition to address future significant structural changes in business models, skills requirements and relative prices, taking account of how citizens, depending on their social and geographic circumstances, will be affected in different ways.

The Government recognises that the transition out of peat in the Midlands is the first test of a just transition for Ireland.  The first progress report of the Just Transition Commissioner, Mr Kieran Mulvey,  published on 22 May, reflects a comprehensive engagement with relevant stakeholders in the Midlands, setting out the analysis of the challenges facing the region, and for Bord na Móna workers, their families and communities, arising from an accelerated exit from peat harvesting. The report contains important recommendations. The Government is already acting on a number of these and is committed to preparing an implementation plan to address the remainder, which I intend to publish in the coming weeks. The recommendations and associated actions will support job creation efforts and create new opportunities for Bord na Móna workers in the Midlands.

A number of actions are already underway which will support job creation. This includes €20 million for a new energy efficiency retrofitting scheme in the Midlands, and €5 million for peatland rehabilitation outside of the Bord na Móna estate. A dedicated Just Transition Fund is making available up to €11 million in 2020 to fund innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region, and which have employment and enterprise potential. On foot of its recent call for proposals under this Fund, my Department published an initial list of sixteen successful projects on 9 September and additional projects will be approved in the coming weeks.

The Government has also committed €15 million, as part of the July Stimulus Plan, in order to commence a multi-year programme to rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of Bord na Móna peatlands. This additional funding will support a just transition by maintaining jobs in the Midlands, as well as laying the foundation for more substantial and sustainable job creation into the future. The enhanced rehabilitation scheme will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by significantly increasing the area of wetland habitats in post-production peatlands. Further additional benefits include increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and supporting bog eco-system services.

The development and implementation of policy on just transition will also be informed by relevant research, including the March 2020 National Economic and Social Council report, ‘Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition in Ireland,’ and the most recent Annual Review of the Climate Change Advisory Council, published last month.

Public Service Obligation Levy

Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 73.

Ceisteanna (79)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

79. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications his views on ring-fencing a percentage of the public service obligation levy for community-owned renewable energy projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29510/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The PSO levy has been in place since 2001, and is a charge on all electricity customers without exception. It consists of a set of support schemes designed to facilitate national electricity policy objectives for renewables and security of supply. From a policy standpoint, the PSO has been and will continue to be a vital policy support for the development of renewable electricity and to enable Ireland to reach EU renewable energy targets and our own national energy and climate targets. The legal basis for the PSO levy and its method of calculation are set out in regulations made under the Electricity Regulation Act 1999 and the Public Service Obligations Order 2002 (S.I. 217 of 2002) under which the CRU, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, is assigned responsibility for calculation of the levy each year. The methodology for determining the PSO levy charge is set out in the Public Service Obligations Order 2002 (S.I. 217 of 2002). The renewable electricity support scheme (RESS) will be funded through the PSO levy on all electricity consumers in the same way as all other renewable schemes. It is my intention that communities all over the country should be able to generate electricity and reap the benefits in their own localities from the sale of that electricity. In that regard, I aim to ensure the delivery of approximately 100 community electricity generation projects by 2030. The RESS will drive the delivery of this objective. Last month I announced that seven community projects had filled the allocated community capacity in the first commercial auction under the scheme. In future onshore RESS auctions, there will be additional capacity allocated to the community category and I expect that only fully community-owned projects will be eligible.In order to ensure an adequate pipeline of such projects, an enabling framework of capacity-building supports is being developed by my Department and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It includes information dissemination, trusted intermediary and adviser services, enabling grants, soft development loans and a simplified grid connection process. The SEAI has commenced assessing the next wave of community projects through the sustainable energy community network. The initial call has already identified 20 of the more mature projects for immediate support. A further wave of projects has been identified for later support. A dedicated telephone number and email address: communityress@seai.ie, along with web pages from SEAI can be accessed to facilitate further community engagement. In effect, as the RESS community supports will be funded from the PSO as provided in the State Aid decision on the Scheme, a portion of the PSO has already been allocated to community energy projects. It is important to note that successful projects from the first RESS auction are not expected to be energised until at least 2021.

Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 73.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (81)

Alan Dillon

Ceist:

81. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications his plans for the roll-out of electric charging points in County Mayo (details supplied); the timeline for the roll-out; and if a survey has taken place in County Mayo regarding suitable locations for such charging points. [29517/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

In line with the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan 2019, this Government is fully committed to supporting a significant expansion and modernisation of the electric vehicle charging network over the coming years. There are currently circa 650 standard public charge points and over 100 fast charge stations (the majority of which are operated by the ESB) in Ireland. An interactive map showing ESB charger locations and their status can be found at www.esb.ie/ecars.

We have committed €10 million from the Climate Action Fund to promote the charging network and this has leveraged a further €10 million investment from ESB. This intervention alone will result in:

- 90 additional high power chargers (150kW), each capable of charging two vehicles

- 52 additional fast chargers (50kW), which may replace existing 22 kW standard chargers

- 264 replacement standard chargers (22kW) with more modern technology and with each consisting of two charge points

The high powered and fast chargers will be mainly concentrated on or near national roads and motorways to enable longer journeys to be completed.

Since the delivery stage of the project commenced in October 2019, five 22kW units have been replaced in County Mayo with upgraded chargers.

In addition, the ESB are planning upgrades at Ballina and Westport to replace the existing standard 22kW chargers to fast chargers. More information on these upgrades can be found at https://esb.ie/ecars/our-network/high-power-charging-hubs.

The ESB project is due to be completed in 2023.

In addition to the ESB project, my Department also provides support through the SEAI Public Charge Point Scheme which has been in place since September 2019 to provide funding to local authorities for the development of on-street public chargers. The primary focus of this scheme is to provide support for the installation of infrastructure which will facilitate owners of EVs, who do not have access to a private parking space but rely on parking their vehicles on public streets, to charge their EVs near their homes.  A total of 75% of the capital costs is provided through a grant, up to a maximum of €5,000 per charge point. In parallel, my Department is also developing a charging infrastructure strategy, in line with the Programme for Government, which will ensure capacity keeps ahead of demand while also putting in place guidance for local authorities on how best to expand the network of public charge points at both local and regional level.

Charging at home accounts for around 80% of electric vehicle charging in Ireland and it is best practice, internationally, to promote home charging as the most common and cheapest form of charging. Combined with an effective public charging network, Ireland's home charging policy will help sustain and service the expected growth of electric vehicles on Irish roads. To support home charging, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), on behalf of my Department, administers an EV Home Charger Grant of up to €600 towards the purchase and installation of an EV home charger unit.

Travel Trade Sector

Ceisteanna (82)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

82. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport his views on a matter regarding the travel industry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29326/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am aware of the serious difficulties, which the Deputy has raised, arising for Irish licensed travel agents and tour operators in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of overseas travel and tourism. This sector is among that category of businesses that have not been able to reclaim any meaningful level of lost business over the last 6 months.

It is the case that the sector is benefitting from a range of State supports made available for SMEs - including the wage subsidies - and the State is also providing a special financial guarantee under a Refund Credit Note scheme for the sector, which makes the credit notes that licensed travel agent and tour operators issue to their customers a very secure proposition. A large amount of credits notes have already been issued by the sector – which is guaranteed by the State - and this is money that the industry would otherwise have had to pay back in cash refunds.

I know that businesses in the sector are looking for more, and the Irish Travel Agents Association has made representations on behalf of its members for additional financial supports in the form of top-ups to small business support schemes announced in the July Stimulus. As I understand it, these additional provisions are being considered in the context of the upcoming Budget.

As you know, there are many competing and compelling calls on Government and on the Exchequer for support. All that we can do is to try to help as many people and businesses as we can.

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (83)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

83. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport when the tendering process for the Dunkettle interchange will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29338/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This is also subject to the Public Spending Code Guidelines and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of this project.

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 51

Parking Regulations

Ceisteanna (84, 95)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

84. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport his plans to increase fixed charge penalty notice fines for illegal parking from €40 to €100; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29286/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Neasa Hourigan

Ceist:

95. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Transport his plans to address the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists caused by dangerous parking; his plans to use his power under SI No. 135 of 2006 to increase the fixed charge penalty notice for illegal parking from €40 to €100; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29369/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 95 together.

Parking on a footpath and parking in a designated cycle lane are both illegal under the current Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking Regulations), as amended, and carry a fixed charge of €40, rising to €60 if not paid within 28 days.

Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 2010 grants powers to the Minister for Transport to make regulations prescribing different amounts for fixed charge notice offences. The Department keeps these charges under constant review and can intervene to impose increases where it is deemed appropriate.

Most recently, for example, in March 2018 my predecessor, Mr. Shane Ross T.D., increased the fixed charge for the offence of parking in a disabled bay from €80 to €150 in response to evidence presented by An Garda Síochána and by disability representative groups of a sharp rise in non-compliance.

While my Department is open to the possibility of introducing similar increases for other parking offences, such changes will require engagement both with An Garda Síochána and with the local authorities so as to ensure fairness and proportionality and to take into account issues of implementation and enforcement.

Parking Regulations

Ceisteanna (85)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

85. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport his plans to provide enhanced powers to local authorities and An Garda Síochána to issue fines based on photographic evidence and to encourage them to issue fines based on illegal parking they witness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29287/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Section 81 of the Road Traffic Act 2010 provides for the use of cameras, if so required, by the Gardaí to assist in the detection of certain traffic offences under the Road Traffic Acts. The offences specified include those made under Section 35 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 which is the basis for the current Traffic and Parking Regulations covering, among other things, the parking offences mentioned by the Deputy. This power has been successfully used by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, working in partnership with the Gardaí, in relation to speeding offences and it is available to other road authorities to use those powers on a similar basis for other offences.

Given the burden of proof for the enforcement of such criminal offences, however, the same Act specifically requires that any electronic apparatus used to capture this nature of evidence must have been approved in advance either by An Garda Síochána itself or by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Traffic Management

Ceisteanna (86)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

86. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport his plans to introduce automatic camera enforcement of bus and cycle lanes; if he will trial such an initiative within the administrative area of Dublin City Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29288/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The success of bus and bicycle priority measures is an essential component in people moving from cars to more sustainable modes of transport, thereby reducing emissions and congestion. It is therefore necessary to ensure that we have the best possible system for enforcement of the rules on both bus corridors and cycle tracks, particularly in the context of BusConnects.

Officials in my Department are currently engaging with the National Transport Authority and other stakeholders to see how this can best be achieved.

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (87, 89)

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

87. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport if the initial studies as agreed in the NDP on the proposed railway line from Derry to Dublin have been commissioned; if he has spoken to the Department of Infrastructure in Northern Ireland in relation to any potential proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29301/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

89. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether an all-island approach to future rail provision is essential; if he has engaged with the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland to discuss this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29305/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 89 together.

While I am not aware of any specific commitment in the National Development Plan in relation to a proposed railway line from Derry to Dublin, I can confirm to the Deputy that I have engaged with my colleague Minister Nichola Mallon, MLA, on a number of occasions in relation to rail infrastructure.

Indeed at this week’s Transport Sectorial meeting of the North South Ministerial Council, I agreed with Minister Mallon to develop further draft terms of reference for a proposed study of rail speeds along the Belfast-Dublin-Limerick Junction-Cork line, which was a commitment in the National Development Plan .

Our intention is to ensure that the scope of the study takes sufficient cognisance of the need for balanced regional development, particularly in relation to connectivity with the North-West.

Our Departments will work together with other relevant stakeholders in finalising the terms of reference now and moving forward with the procurement of consultants.

I look forward to the commencement of this important study in due course.

Bus Services

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 87.

Ceisteanna (88)

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

88. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport if he will work with his counterparts in the Stormont Executive to develop sustainable and fair pricing structures for cross-Border bus services; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that bus ticket offers vary significantly depending on the place of departure, between Derry and Dublin for example; his views on whether the price should be the same regardless of the location a bus departs from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29304/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the regulation of fares in relation to public passenger transport services. I have, therefore, referred 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.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 87.

Driver Test

Ceisteanna (90)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

90. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport the additional resources which will be given to each test centre to alleviate waiting lists times; and the waiting time and number of applicants by age in each test centre in tabular form. [29322/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA who are examining ways of increasing the number of tests within the current health constraints. I am pleased to say that my Department has already given approval to the RSA to retain 18 driver testers on temporary contracts due to expire in October and November, and to rehire up to 19 testers whose contracts expired in May. However, I would like to stress that many of the issues impacting on the delivery of service are concerned with the throughput of centres themselves in light of the restrictions, rather than on the availability of staff.

The RSA are also taking a number of other measures, including increasing the number of tests a driver tester can perform each day from five to six and scheduling additional overtime tests, including testing on Saturdays to increase capacity.

It is my understanding that those who had appointments cancelled due to Covid 19 are being prioritised in the first instance. Priority then will be given in order of application date. While there is some capacity for urgent test slots, the Road Safety Authority (RSA)'s capacity to make these available in all cases will be limited. Therefore, initially those who are frontline healthcare workers will be deemed eligible for an urgent test slot. This approach for prioritising customers will be kept under review as the RSA moves through the service resumption.

Specific details on the number of persons awaiting a driver test per test centre and age are held by the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred this part of the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51

Cycling Facilities

Ceisteanna (91)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

91. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport further to Parliamentary Question No. 252 of 29 September 2020, if only one local authority has drawn down funding for safe cycling signage. [29323/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by Exchequer road grants, where applicable. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

Further to Parliamentary Question No. 252 of 29 September 2020, it remains the case that one local authority, Mayo County Council, has drawn down €11,640 to date.

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (92)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

92. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Transport the reason Irish Rail has not done an engineer's report on the Ballybrophy to Limerick railway line over the past number of years; and if he will have one carried out. [29328/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Minister for Transport, 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 51

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (93)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

93. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport the status of the construction of the Cork city north ring road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29339/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This is also subject to the Public Spending Code Guidelines and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of this project.

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 51

Departmental Contracts

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 84.

Ceisteanna (94)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

94. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport the contracts with public relations agencies and consultants entered into by his Department; and the remit of these contracts including the costs in tabular form. [29363/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department has not entered into any contracts with public relations agencies or consultants for the years 2019 and 2020 to date.

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 84.

Driver Test

Ceisteanna (96)

Michael McNamara

Ceist:

96. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Transport when a person (details supplied) who is a student nurse on placement in Limerick will receive a date for a driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29370/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The scheduling of candidates’ driving tests is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and I have no input in this matter.

I am referring the Deputy's question to the RSA for further reply in relation to this specific case, noting that the Deputy has indicated that it appears to relate to an essential worker. Please advise my office if a reply has not been received within 10 days.

Driver Test

Ceisteanna (97)

Paul McAuliffe

Ceist:

97. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29371/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

While it is the case that a learner driver must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver at all times, there is no requirement in law for driving instructors to attend test centres with learners sitting driving tests. Operational arrangements at test centres are a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred that element of the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct response; please contact my office if no reply has been received within ten working days.

In response to the second issue raised by the Deputy, I should clarify that under provisions set out in S.I. No. 203/2009 - Road Traffic (Driving Instructor Licensing) (No. 2) Regulations 2009 the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is legally required to carry out a check test of an Approved Driving Instructor every two years at the very minimum. This test takes the form of an observation by an RSA examiner of a lesson given by the instructor to a learner driver and is considered an essential element in the regulation and continuous professional development of driving instructors.

Driving is a complex and multifaceted skill and instructors shoulder a considerable responsibility in teaching their students to behave safely and responsibly on the roads at all times. It is for this reason that it is imperative that the RSA have a means of ensuring that all instructors maintain the highest of teaching standards in the years after they have completed their initial qualification.

I must stress that it is equally important that we protect lives and health from both the COVID19 pandemic and the impact of collisions on our roads and that we maintain the standards, whether in public health or in driving standards, that save lives and health.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51

Driver Licences

Ceisteanna (98)

Colm Burke

Ceist:

98. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Transport if provision can be made for drivers whose licences are due to expire in October 2020 in view of the delay in accessing NDLS appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29380/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

All driving licences that expired between 1 March and 31 August 2020 have been extended for 7 months. This extension was granted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused to licensing services delivered by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). This brings Irish national law in line with EU legislation.

The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) has now resumed services however they are unable to facilitate any walk-ins due to the social distancing requirements and in the interest of protecting the staff and customers. Therefore, all appointments must be booked in advance. This, of course, has led to an increase in the demand for appointments.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is working with their providers to see how they can create the additional capacity needed as quickly as possible, while adhering to the return to work protocol. Options being introduced include a combination of additional staff, extended and additional operating hours (i.e. Sundays where needed), and the provision of overtime.

The NDLS booking system is undergoing software changes to cater for the expanded booking window associated with the additional NDLS appointment slots, with testing commencing this week.

The introduction of these steps may help ease some of the pressure on the NDLS, free up appointment slots and make it easier to find those slots at local centres. The RSA is continuing work with my Department to expand the current online facility to accommodate all driving licence and learner permit application types.