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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 452-471
 Header Item Greenhouse Gas Emissions
 Header Item Waste Management
 Header Item National Broadband Plan
 Header Item Illegal Dumping
 Header Item Bord na Móna
 Header Item National Broadband Plan
 Header Item National Broadband Plan
 Header Item Electricity Generation
 Header Item Disabled Parking Permits
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item State Bodies Data
 Header Item Rural Transport Programme
 Header Item Road Safety Data
 Header Item Road Safety Strategy
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme
 Header Item Vehicle Clamping
 Header Item Public Transport
 Header Item Roads Maintenance Funding
 Header Item Driver Licences

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 452-471

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 452. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Ireland is likely to miss its EU 2020 targets to reduce emissions; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that this will have serious implications for Ireland's 2030 obligations with regard to EU emissions targets; if fines of up to €1.5 billion for every 1% that Ireland is below 2020 renewable energy targets could be issued in this regard; and the measures that he has taken to address this matter. [43435/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The Question refers to two different targets, one relating to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and the other to renewable energy.

  In relation to the former, the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC established binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 to 2020. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20% below their level in 2005. This will be Ireland’s contribution to the overall EU objective to reduce its emissions by the order of 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Ireland’s target is jointly the most demanding 2020 reduction target allocated to EU Member States under this Decision, which is shared only with Denmark and Luxembourg.

  The latest projections of greenhouse gas emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by Ireland's 2020 targets could be between 4% and 6% below 2005 levels by 2020. The projected shortfall to our targets in 2020 reflects both the constrained investment capacity over the past decade due to the economic crisis, and the extremely challenging nature of the target itself. In fact, it is now accepted that Ireland’s 2020 target was not consistent with what would be achievable on an EU wide cost-effective basis.

  Notwithstanding this projected shortfall, Ireland's first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July of this year, provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Plan sets out what Ireland is currently doing, and is planning to do, to further the national transition objective as set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015. Although this first Plan will not provide a complete roadmap to achieve the national transition objective to 2050, it begins the process of development of medium to long-term options to ensure that we are well positioned to take the necessary actions in the next and future decades.

  The legislative framework governing the EU’s 2020 emissions reductions targets includes a number of flexibility mechanisms to enable Member States to meet their annual emissions targets, including provisions to bank any excess allowances to future years and to trade allowances between Member States. Using our banked emissions from the period to 2015, Ireland is projected to comply with its emissions reduction targets in each of the years 2013 to 2018. However, our cumulative emissions are expected to exceed targets for 2019 and 2020, which will result in a requirement to purchase additional allowances. While this purchasing requirement is not, at this stage, expected to be significant, further analysis will be required to quantify the likely costs involved, in light of the final amount and price of allowances required.

  In relation to Ireland's 2030 obligations, negotiations on a proposal to determine individual EU Member State targets to contribute to the overall EU commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% on 1990 levels by 2030 are ongoing. The EU Council of Ministers agreed its General Approach on this proposal on 13 October. I am satisfied that the Council's General Approach 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.

  With regard to Ireland's renewable energy targets, the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is committed to achieving this target through meeting 40% of electricity demand, 12% of heat and 10% of transport from renewable sources of energy, with the latter transport target also being legally binding.

  While good progress has been made to date, with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) advising that 9.1% of Ireland's overall energy requirements in 2015 were met from renewable sources, meeting the 16% target remains challenging. The SEAI has recently estimated that Ireland could fall short of our renewable energy target by between 1% and 3%. Moreover, in a document entitled Ireland's Energy Targets - Progress, Ambition and Impacts (published in April 2016), the SEAI estimated that the cost to Ireland of not meeting our overall renewable energy targets may be in the range of €65 million to €130 million for each percentage point Ireland falls short of the overall 16% renewable energy target.

  The Renewable Energy Directive provides a comprehensive framework for Member States to work towards achieving individual and EU renewable energy targets, including mechanisms for countries to work together such as statistical transfers, which allow Member States to meet their targets by purchasing credits from Member States that overachieve on their renewable targets.

  The focus remains firmly on meeting our 2020 target and a number of interventions have been taken to support renewable energy, including the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff supports. New measures are also in development, including a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme and a Renewable Heat Incentive. In any event, the cost of purchasing statistical transfers should any potential shortfall in Ireland's target arise has yet to be established and will depend on a number of factors, particularly the available supply and market costs.

Waste Management

 453. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if his Department has examined the effect of six-pack plastic can rings on the environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43503/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Our use of plastic has increased exponentially in recent decades. Plastics feature across a wide range of applications and products, such as packaging, construction, electrics and electronics, agriculture, medical and health. The last waste characterisation study carried out by the EPA showed that 12.4% of our household waste, by weight, was plastic.

  The effects of plastic pollution, in particular, on the marine environment has been well publicised. My colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government is responsible for marine environmental policy, including marine litter policy in the first instance. Both he and I recognise that the waste we create on land, and certain plastic waste items, in particular, can represent significant marine litter problems. Accordingly, we are working together to identify measures to address this with our European partners in the context of the forthcoming EU Plastics Strategy.

  Other initiatives to combat plastic pollution include the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System (NLPMS) Report, which is commissioned by my Department on an annual basis. It can be downloaded at www.litter.ie. The Reports, over the past decade, demonstrate a generally positive trend with regard to litter. Plastic can rings are not recorded specifically in these local authority NLPMS surveys but they are included with other plastic packaging items. As a percentage of litter monitored, plastic packaging items increased from 6.56% in 2015 to 7.73% in 2016. These increases are of concern to me and in 2017 I have taken further action focussed on the litter issue and have significantly increased funding for the Protecting Upland and Rural Environments programme, the An Taisce National Spring Clean, and the Anti-Litter and Awareness Grant Scheme. My Department also provides funding to the EPA for the commissioning of research and has provided €8.75 million for this purpose in 2017. A number of studies on plastics have been completed through this funding stream.

National Broadband Plan

 454. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the reason for the delay in connecting a person (details supplied) to the fibre to the home broadband network as neighbouring properties in the area have been connected under the same scheme; the stage reached by the installation process; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43645/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) will ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that to date approximately 1.5m or 65% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland can get high speed broadband and this footprint is expanding.

  In April I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area. The Map is searchable by Eircode by individuals seeking information:

  - The BLUE areas on the Map represent those areas where commercial telecommunications providers are either currently delivering, or have indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband services; and

  - The AMBER areas on the Map represent the areas that will require State Intervention and are the subject of a procurement process.

  The premises referenced is within the AMBER area and will be covered by the State led Intervention. With regard to the eir planned rural deployment of fibre close to the referenced premises, the decision as to what areas and premises are served is a matter for eir and not one in which I have a role.

  With regard to the State led  Intervention, my Department is engaged in an on-going procurement process to select a company or companies who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network for the State led intervention. A significant milestone in that procurement process was reached in September with the submission of "Detailed Solutions" by two bidders.  This is the last stage of the procurement process before receipt of final tenders and ultimate progression to the appointment of a preferred bidder(s).

  To improve both mobile and broadband services in rural Ireland in advance of the rollout of the high speed broadband network to be built in the State intervention area, I established, in July 2016, a Taskforce to identify solutions which can be implemented in the short, medium and long term to alleviate mobile phone and broadband coverage deficits, to identify priority areas for rollout and investigate how better services could be provided to consumers. These solutions will enhance the existing services prior to the full build and rollout of the network planned under the NBP State led intervention.

  Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency  in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure. There is a link to a list of these local Broadband Officers on my Department's website.

Illegal Dumping

 455. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the estimated cost of cleaning up illegal dumping in County Wexford; his plans to strengthen sanctions on illegal dumping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43683/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The cost of illegal dumping is not collated by my Department as it includes local authority enforcement, disposal and legal costs and also involves costs for other State agencies such as An Garda Síochána.

Penalties for serious dumping offences provided for under the Waste Management Acts are already substantial. Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €5,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

My role, as Minister, is to provide the legislative and policy framework under which both local authority and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement action against illegal dumping is initiated. Enforcement action against illegal waste activity is a matter for the local authorities and the Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) of the EPA as appropriate.

Notwithstanding this arrangement, my Department encourages a multi-faceted approach to tackling the problem, incorporating enforcement, public awareness and education and, as such, provides funding to support the activities of a network of local authority waste enforcement officers. In this regard, since the introduction of the local authority waste enforcement grant in 2003, Wexford County Council has received approximately €3.2M.

My Department has also introduced an anti-dumping initiative to work in partnership with local authorities and community organisations in identifying high risk or problem areas, developing appropriate enforcement responses and carrying out clean-up operations. Wexford County Council received funding of €47,000 under the initiative this year to support twelve clean up, monitoring and restorative projects throughout the County. In response to the hugely positive reaction from local authorities and communities since I launched this measure, I will be making a further €1.3M available nationally to support its further development in 2018.

Bord na Móna

 456. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the acreage of land under the control of Bord na Móna within the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43777/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Bord na Móna is a commercial State company operating under the Turf Development Acts 1946 to 1998. The matter raised by the Deputy regarding land ownership is operational in nature and not one in which I, as Minister, have any role or function. Nonetheless, I have forwarded the Deputy's query to Bord na Móna and asked it respond directly to the Deputy..

National Broadband Plan

 457. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if a school (details supplied) in County Meath will be included in the roll-out of broadband in the area. [43819/17]

 459. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten when broadband will be available to residents in Balgeeth, Garristown, County Meath. [43935/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten I propose to take Questions Nos. 457 and 459 together.

  In April I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The Map is searchable by eircode.

  - The BLUE areas on the Map represent those areas where commercial telecommunications providers are either currently delivering, or have indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband services.

  - The AMBER areas on the Map represent the areas that will require State Intervention and are the subject of a procurement process.

  Individuals can access the High Speed Broadband Map www.broadband.gov.ie using their eircode to ascertain the colour code (BLUE for commercial or AMBER for the State Led Intervention) status for their premises.

  There are over 83,000 premises in County Meath, 64,000 of which fall within a BLUE area of the Map and will be covered by commercial operators. Of these 64,000, over 10,000 form part of eir's planned deployment to deliver rural high speed broadband to 300,000 premises between now and the end of 2018. The remaining 19,000 premises in County Meath fall within an AMBER area and will be part of the State led Intervention under the National Broadband Plan.

  The position in relation to the particular Meath areas referred to by the Deputy is as follows:

  - The map shows that the townland of Culmullin, Co. Meath comprises 31 premises and broadband coverage will be realised through a mix of commercial investment and through the State Intervention under the NBP. Of the 31 premises, 28 premises fall within the State Intervention area including Culmullin National School.  The remaining 3 premises are part of eir's planned rural deployment.

  - The map shows that the townland of Balgeeth Co. Meath comprises 36 premises. Of the 36 premises, 25 premises fall within the State Intervention area. The remaining 11 premises are part of eir's planned rural deployment.

  Information on eir's planned rural deployment is available from eir at http://fibrerollout.ie/eircode-lookup/. Individuals can access this website to determine the connectivity availability status for their premises using their eircode. The website also provides a list of retail service providers who offer services using high speed fibre network in the area.

  With regard to the State led Intervention, my Department is engaged in an on-going procurement process to select a company or companies who will roll out a new high speed broadband network. A significant milestone in that procurement process was reached last month with the submission of "Detailed Solutions" by two bidders. This is the last stage of the procurement process before receipt of final tenders and ultimate progression to the appointment of a preferred bidder(s). My Department will engage with the winning bidder(s) on the best rollout strategy for the network build on conclusion of this process.

  To improve both mobile and broadband services in rural Ireland in advance of the rollout of the high speed broadband network to be built in the State intervention area, I established, in July 2016, a Taskforce to identify solutions which can be implemented in the short, medium and long term to alleviate mobile phone and broadband coverage deficits, to identify priority areas for rollout and investigate how better services could be provided to consumers. These solutions will enhance the existing services prior to the full build and roll-out of the network planned under the NBP State led intervention.

  Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency  in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure. There is a link to a list of these local Broadband Officers on my Department's website.

National Broadband Plan

 458. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten when a location (details supplied) can expect to receive a broadband upgrade in view of the fact the current levels of broadband speed at this address are unsatisfactory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43853/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten In April I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area. The Map is searchable by Eircode and address.

  - The BLUE areas on the Map represent those areas where commercial telecommunications providers are either currently delivering, or have indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband services.

  - The AMBER areas on the Map represent the areas that will require State Intervention and are the subject of a procurement process.

  Individuals can access the High Speed Broadband Map www.broadband.gov.ie using their eircode to ascertain the colour code (BLUE for commercial or AMBER for the State Led Intervention) status for their premises.

  The map shows that the Derrinturn, Co. Kildare is in a BLUE area, where commercial operators are currently delivering or have indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband services. Where a citizen living in a Blue area is unable to obtain a high speed broadband service, I would encourage them to email my Department at broadband@dccae.gov.ie with their eircode and details of the service providers they have contacted.

Question No. 459 answered with Question No. 457.

Electricity Generation

 460. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the current and planned measures his Department is undertaking to allow private persons and small-scale businesses to sell electricity they have generated to the national grid.  [43963/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten My Department is currently developing a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) which will be designed to assist Ireland in meeting its renewable energy contribution to EU-wide targets out to 2030. The new RESS will provide pathways for delivering on the 2015 Energy White Paper commitment to ensure communities and citizens are at the centre of the future energy transition in Ireland. Communities are effectively being designed into the fabric of the new scheme and a comprehensive assessment of polices and support measures to increase community ownership from renewable electricity projects has been undertaken. The most effective policies to increase community ownership and participation in renewable electricity projects have been assessed and examined within an Irish context.

  Examples of some of these policies include a mandatory requirement for all renewable electricity projects seeking financial support through the new scheme to offer investment and/or ownership opportunities to the local community; the facilitation of grid access for community-led projects; a ring fencing of capacity (MW) for community-led projects; and the establishment of a national community benefits register. Opportunities for smaller scale projects under a variety of local ownership models to get support will also be provided. Furthermore, the Scheme will establish a network of trusted intermediaries who will act as independent facilitators between communities and developers to support community participation in renewable energy projects.

  Micro generation, which typically involves an element of self-consumption and the selling of excess electricity to the grid, was also appraised as part of the RESS economic assessment. The analysis identified a number of challenges that may need to be addressed before a support scheme for micro generation can be developed. These include amongst others, a reform of network charges, an assessment of the distributional impact of such a policy decision on the PSO (cost burden sharing), and development of a fair tariff for exported electricity taking the benefits of self-consumption into account. This approach is in line with experience from other EU member states who have attempted to introduce supports for micro generation.

  I am committed to further exploring opportunities for supporting micro generation, as I believe that micro-generation will have an important role in Ireland’s transition to a carbon free economy, in assisting Ireland meet its renewable electricity targets, and increasing social acceptance of and promoting renewable energy projects right across the country. I have asked the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), on behalf of my Department to facilitate a workshop on micro generation, and this will take place this week. All relevant stakeholders have been invited to participate with the end goal being the development of a policy position on how best to support micro generation in Ireland.

  A public consultation on the design principles of the proposed new RESS was launched on 4 September and submissions are invited from the public. All submissions will be considered and following on from this final public consultation, a design proposal will be brought to Government for approval. Full details of the consultation are available on my Department’s website at: www.dccae.gov.ie.

Disabled Parking Permits

 461. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his views on whether an organisation (details supplied) is randomly selecting elderly persons as part of the selection for renewal of disabled parking permits; if he will raise the matter with the organisation in an effort to stop same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43376/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The Irish Wheelchair Association issues Disabled Parking Permits on behalf of my Department. All permits are required under legislation to be renewed every two years. As part of the renewal process, permit holders are required to complete an application form which is forwarded approximately four weeks before the expiry date on their current permit.

As part of the renewal process, ten percent of permit holders are randomly selected to have their GP complete the medical section of the application. This is the same criteria that applicants are required to have completed by their GP when applying for the first time for a permit. Frequently as a result of this process, applicants at renewal stage are found to no longer qualify for the permit. The remaining 90 percent of renewals are not required to get a medical sign off.

Permit holders who  have a Primary Medical Certificate and who have a permanent visual impairment are excluded from being randomly selected. There is no criteria in the random selection process that relates to age, gender or disability.

Rail Network

 462. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the estimated cost of upgrading signalling centres on the rail network; his plans to replace signalling centres in 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43389/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Iarnród Éireann has responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the heavy rail network. My Department provides capital funding to Iarnród Éireann for the maintenance and renewal of the network under the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC), in accordance with the requirements of EU law. The company also receives capital funding, via the National Transport Authority, for heavy rail projects in the Greater Dublin Area and under the Regional Cities Programme.

  I have forwarded the Deputy's request for details of the expenditure to Iarnród Éireann for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a response is not received within ten working days.

  The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

State Bodies Data

 463. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43422/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Details of the membership of the Boards of State Bodies within the remit of my Department are listed on my Department's website at the following link: State Boards.

  Board members are appointed on the basis of their suitability to contribute to the good governance of the bodies concerned - this does not necessarily correlate to having a specific qualification in relation to the field in which the board or body has oversight. 

Rural Transport Programme

 464. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the detail of the expansion and amalgamation of services of the rural transport programme; the funding increases and other changes that are due to take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43430/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross In Budget 2018 I secured an additional €500,000 in funding for the Rural Transport Programme (RTP). This brings the total funding to €14.9 million and builds on the increased funding in the last two years, which enabled the improvement of existing services and development of new routes.

This funding is provided to the National Transport Authority (NTA) which has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the RTP. In light of the NTA's responsibilities regarding the development of services under the RTP, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a response is not received within 10 working days..

Road Safety Data

 465. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross further to Parliamentary Question No. 527 of 3 October 2017, if he will provide the information received from European countries with the safest road safety record in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43438/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The information on safety equipment in other countries was compiled for my Department by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

  The RSA compiled the information from data obtained from the European Commission, and also sent questionnaires directly to 139 contacts registered with International Road Traffic and Accident Database Analysis Group (IRTAD). A total of 23 direct responses were received.

  The information was collated and provided to me in tabular form which I am providing here.

  As the Deputy will be aware, the five safest European countries in relation to road deaths are Norway, Sweden, the UK, Switzerland and Denmark.

Country Hi Viz Vest Warning triangle First aid kit Fire extinguisher Torch Other required or recommended
Australia No HGV over 12 tonne required to carry 3 portable warning triangles No No No Varies by state.

Recommended High visibility vest & first aid kit.
Belgium Yes Yes Yes Yes No  
Brazil No Yes No Yes No  
Cambodia No Yes for all motor vehicles For passenger vehicles only e.g. buses   No Sometimes recommended by certain transport associations.
Chile No Yes Only for freight vehicles, public transportation and school buses. Fire sprinklers (all vehicles)   Conaset recommends the use of High Vis Vest.
Czech Republic Yes Yes Yes Buses only No Spare fuses & Bulbs, Spare wheel, hand jack, spanner for wheels. (for all cars and lorries) Hig vis vest, first aid kit and spare fuses (motorcycles)
Finland No Yes Buses Buses and recreational vehicles with gas bottles.   Pedestrians must wear a reflector when it is dark.

First aid kits recommended in all vehicles and as a gift for 1st driving licence
France Yes Yes Yes for vehicles used for Professional purposes   No 2 Breathalysers
Greece Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Hungary Recommended but is compulsory to wear outside built up areas if you step out of car on the motorway Yes Is compulsory but due to recent amendments of legislation it’s not punished. Howeve4r in case of an accident the passer-by is obliged to help an injured person and if this is impossible due to missing first aid kit the driver can be fined. For vehicles over 3.5 and those allowed to tow trailer of 3.5   As for fire extinguisher 2 wheel chocks
Israel Yes Yes Yes for vehicles transporting goods/people

Taxi, caravans, security vehicles, buses
fire extinguisher – vans, busses; fire resistant blanket – vans, busses No  
Italy Yes No Fleet vehicles     When using a warning triangle it is compulsory to use retro reflective devices or high vis vest.

Snow chains/winter tyres must be carried in winter on selected roads.
Lithuania Yes Yes Yes Yes no  
Poland   Yes Buses, taxi, driving school & exam cars only Yes (2 in buses) No  
Serbian Yes Yes Yes Vehicles over 3.5 t and buses.

Commercial vehicles.
No 2 pcs of wheel chocks legally compulsory for vehicles over 3.5 t and buses.
Sweden No Yes No Buses only No  
Switzerland No Yes for all vehicles wider than 1 meter except motorcycles, m/c with side car and crawler vehicles. Coaches   No  
Country Hi Viz Vest Warning triangle First aid kit Fire extinguisher Torch Other required or recommended
Argentina No Yes No Yes( with load control and reachable for driver) No First aid kit officially recommended
Bulgaria Yes Yes Yes Yes    
Cyprus   Yes        
Denmark   Yes        
Estonia Yes Yes Yes Yes    
Germany YES Yes Yes No    
Iceland   Yes Modified vehicles buses & Coaches Mobile homes, modified vehicles, buses & Coaches    
Latvia   Yes Yes Yes    
Lux Yes Yes        
Malta            
Netherlands   Yes Recommended      
Norway Yes Yes        
Nz No No No No No Safety triangle recommended. High viz mentioned in relation to cyclists and motorcyclists
Portugal Yes Yes        
Romania   Yes Yes Yes    
Slovakia Yes Yes Yes      
Slovenia Yes Yes Yes Truck and Buses No Spare bulb. From nov to march winter equp compulsory. Spare tyre or run flat or tyre repair kit (not for single track vehicles)
Spain Yes Yes 2 required        
UK   No legal requirement but should not be used on motorways for safety reasons Buses and taxis Buses and taxis    
USA No Buses & Trucks No No No Other safety devices are required in trucks and buses no response as to what the actual devices are.
  ** Enforced with penalties:

Members were asked ‘Is this enforceable by the police ‘yes or no'. Therefore when reading the response, yes means it is enforced by the police.

Road Safety Strategy

 466. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his views on a report (details supplied) submitted to his Department in September 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43439/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I note that the report the Deputy refers to was compiled by a company called C-US Safety Ltd., which was dissolved in 2016. It would be inappropriate for me to specifically comment on or endorse a commercial product.

  Notwithstanding this, my Department is currently working on Action 105 of the Road Safety Strategy, which relates to emergency equipment in cars, with the emergency triangle and high-visibility vests emerging as the most viable options.

  However, a number of concerns remain to be addressed before emergency packs can be made mandatory, including legislation required to underpin the requirement, penalties for non-carrying of mandatory items, and enforcement issues.

  I expect to have this action completed in the coming months.

Sports Capital Programme

 467. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when he will announce the 2017 sports capital grant allocations. [43453/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on the 24th February. By the closing date, a record number of 2,320 applications seeking €155 million in grants were received. When the programme was launched, it was envisaged that €30m would be available which would have made the allocation of grants particularly challenging. Following the conclusion of the budget discussions and in order to allow as many worthwhile projects as possible to receive some funding, I am pleased that significant extra resources have been secured to allocate under this round. The assessment of all the 2,320 applications is now nearing completion and I expect to be in a position to announce full details of the allocations in the coming weeks.

Vehicle Clamping

 468. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the status of the regulations being introduced under the Vehicle Clamping Act 2015; the degree to which these regulations differ from existing custom and practice; if the regulations cover the need for clear and prominent signage; if the appeals process has been improved; if the maximum clamp release fee has been reduced; if a copy of the regulations can be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43491/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The Vehicle Clamping Act 2015 (Commencement) Order 2017 (SI Number 211/2017) provided for the 1st June 2017 and the 1st October 2017 to be the operative dates for the purposes of the Act.

  On the 1st June 2017 a certain number of sections of the Act were commenced to allow the NTA commence a public consultation process in relation to draft Regulations relating to clamping, signage and clamp release charges.

  The Order stated that all other sections of the Act would be operative from the 1st October 2017.

  On October 1st the National Transport Authority (NTA) assumed its responsibilities as the regulator of vehicle clamping activities in both statutory and non-statutory (privately-owned) clamping places throughout the State.

  The principal provisions of the Act include the:

  - regulation of clamping and related activities;

  - establishment of a two-tier appeals process to hear appeals against clamping or relocation;

  - provision of appropriate signage in places where clamping is operated;

  - setting of maximum clamp release and vehicle relocation charges;

  - establishment of a code of practice; and

  - provision of necessary enforcement and investigate powers to investigate and prosecute any alleged breaches of regulations made.

  As required under the Act the NTA has prescribed €125 as the maximum clamp release fee permitted for non-statutory clamping places.

  Under the Act the appeals and complaints procedures came into force on 1st October 2017. From that date the NTA processes all second-stage clamping appeals arising from clamping activities anywhere in the State including such appeals against on-street clamping in Dublin City which were previously administered by Dublin City Council.

  The NTA will also prepare a draft code of practice providing practical guidance regarding compliance with the Act and the regulations and establishing standards in relation to the general behaviour, performance of duties and conduct of parking controllers and clamping operators with regard to clamping activities.

  The full Vehicle Clamping Act 2015 along with the Vehicle Clamping and Signage Regulations can be viewed on the National Transport Authority website at the following link www.nationaltransport.ie/vehicle-clamping.

Public Transport

 469. Deputy John Brassil Information on John Brassil Zoom on John Brassil asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to introduce an incentive for persons to use public transport in order to ease traffic congestion in cities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43516/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I have secured increased funding for both public transport services and infrastructure in Budget 2018 which will allow us to address congestion and emerging capacity constraints on our public transport system across our cities.

This includes an 8% increase in funding for PSO services across the bus and rail networks in 2018 to support the delivery of these socially necessary but financially unviable public transport services.

Budget 2018 provided a four-year capital envelope for public transport of over €2.7 billion to 2021 including an investment of over €400 million next year. This substantial multi-annual envelope will allow investment in a number of key programmes to ease congestion in our cities and increase capacity on our public transport network.

Over €770 million will be invested in the BusConnects programme to fundamentally transform Dublin’s bus system, so that journeys for bus passengers will be fast, reliable, punctual, convenient and affordable.

Funding of over €110 million will be invested in new urban cycling and walking routes which will provide additional sustainable travel options to complement increased capacity and faster, higher quality public transport in our main cities. In addition, there will be investment in the region of €130 million over the next four years for traffic management, bus priority and other smarter travel projects in our cities.

Over €685 million capital investment will also be provided for additional rail infrastructure between now and 2021 to improve the rail network.

Finally, funding continues to be allocated to the National Transport Authority to promote public transport use and to improve customer experiences through the use of smart technologies. Successful initiatives that have been introduced include the Leap Card, real time passenger information and journey planning apps.

Roads Maintenance Funding

 470. Deputy John Brassil Information on John Brassil Zoom on John Brassil asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if funding for road repair works (details supplied) will be assigned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43549/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads (RLR) in Kerry is the statutory responsibility of Kerry County Council, 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 State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority. In this context no funding application has been received by the Department in relation to Dale Road.

The economic reality of recent years has meant significant reductions in roads budgets across the board and this has resulted in some grant programmes being curtailed, including the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes, in order to protect funding for road maintenance and repair and this remains the position.

While the Capital Plan 2016-2021 does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network it will take some years yet to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. There is, therefore, limited scope at present for funding for projects under either the Specific or Strategic Grant Programmes.

Notwithstanding the above, Kerry County Council has been allocated €1.4m in 2017 towards 3 Specific Improvement projects. It is important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement local authorities in their spending in this area and it is open to Kerry County Council to fund work on this road from its own resources.

Driver Licences

 471. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will review a matter relating to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43581/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, and I have no role in individual cases. I have, therefore, referred 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..


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