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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 15-39
 Header Item General Data Protection Regulation
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Waste Management
 Header Item Greenhouse Gas Emissions
 Header Item Compensation Schemes
 Header Item Postal Services
 Header Item Greenhouse Gas Emissions
 Header Item Air Quality
 Header Item National Broadband Plan
 Header Item National Broadband Plan
 Header Item Energy Efficiency
 Header Item Waste Data
 Header Item Waste Data
 Header Item Waste Data
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item General Data Protection Regulation

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 6
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 15-39

General Data Protection Regulation

 15. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of complaints his Department has received from members of the public under the heading of general data protection regulation, GDPR, and data information requests from 2018 to date in 2021; the number of data information requests that have been refused and accepted, respectively; the number of GDPR requests refused; and the basis on which they were declined, in tabular form. [17988/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The information requested by the Deputy for my Department and the Offices under the aegis of my Department is set out in the tables at the following link.

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2021-04-01_pq15-01-04-21_en.docx

Covid-19 Pandemic

 16. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if urgent consideration will be given to the reintroduction of click-and-collect services for small and medium enterprises in the retail sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18017/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I understand this is an incredibly difficult time for businesses across the country and I would like to thank them for their efforts at this difficult time. By each of us following the spirit of the rules and working together we can hopefully ease some restrictions soon.

  S.I. No. 701 of 2020 Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No. 10) Regulations 2020 and S.I. No. 4 of 2021 Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No. 10) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/) clearly sets out the temporary restrictions under Level 5. A list of essential services can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c9158-essential-services/ and the list of essential retail outlets at Level 5 can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/60ecc-essential-retail-outlets-for-level-5/

  Under Level 5, only essential retail outlets will remain open and all measures in Level 5 will stay in place until at least April 5 2021. Further information can be found on https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/.

  COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 - The Path Ahead, which can be found on https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/, sets out the approach to the next phase, which is subject to ongoing review and taking into account the evolving epidemiological situation.

  All decisions taken by Government on the timing of any lifting of restrictions are informed by the public health advice at the time.

  Minister English has met regularly with Retail Forum members and representatives from the retail grocery and distribution sector to continuously discuss and assess adherence to the public health restrictions.

  The Government has introduced a wide range of supports to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and they can be found on the Department’s website https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/

  It is important to monitor gov.ie for the latest information, public health advice and guidelines from Government in relation to COVID-19.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 17. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will amend the conditions of the small business assistance scheme for Covid, SBASC, to enable small enterprises that are in receipt of support under the Covid restrictions support scheme, CRSS, to transfer to the new scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [18060/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar CRSS was designed to provide a well targeted support to assist those public facing businesses located in areas where public health restrictions were in place. The amount payable was based on the eligible business’s turnover for a comparative period pre-pandemic. Turnover provided an equitable proxy by which to calculate the costs which the business incurred, meaning that payments were commensurate with these ongoing costs.

The SBASC was designed to provide assistance to those businesses who do not qualify for CRSS or other similar sectoral support schemes. As SBASC is being administered by the 31 Local Authorities, a requirement was that the Scheme be straightforward to administer for both applicants and administrators alike, which is why flat rate payment of €4,000 for the first quarter of 2021 was decided on.

Under the terms of the scheme it is not possible to receive SBASC for periods when businesses are in receipt of payments for CRSS. SBASC is available for Q1 2021 for those businesses that are not in receipt of the CRSS for Q1.

As we indicated at the time of the launch of the SBASC, these payments are not designed to compensate for lost income but to make a contribution to fixed costs and to ensure that assistance is provided for unavoidable fixed and ongoing costs to enable businesses to resume when restriction levels are eased. It is also important to note that CRSS has been available to eligible businesses since October 2020 and has included several bonus payments throughout that period, whereas SBASC will only cover the period since the start of 2021.

I wish to assure the Deputy, however, that all schemes for which my department is responsible are kept under constant review.

Waste Management

 18. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the savings achieved by diverting one tonne of paper, cardboard and plastic from landfill to incineration or to recycling, respectively in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction in pollution or other damage to the environment, reduction in costs of processing the waste and the creation of a product for new uses; and the estimated value of each of these savings.  [17880/21]

 33. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the savings achieved by diverting one tonne of compostable material from landfill to incineration or to recycling respectively, in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction in pollution or other damage to the environment, reduction in costs of processing the waste and the creation of a product for new uses; and the estimated value of each of these savings.  [17874/21]

 34. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the savings achieved by diverting one tonne of paper, cardboard and plastic from landfill to incineration or to recycling, respectively in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction in pollution or other damage to the environment, reduction in costs of processing the waste and the creation of a product for new uses; and the estimated value of each of these savings.  [17875/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos. 18, 33 and 34 together.

  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for compiling Ireland’s national greenhouse gas emission inventory on an annual basis, and publishes information online at http://epa.ie/ghg/. In 2019, Ireland’s provisional GHG emissions are estimated to be 59.90 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq). The waste sectors contribution to this figure is based on emissions from solid waste disposal, composting, waste incineration (excluding waste to energy), open burning of waste and wastewater treatment and discharge. The entire waste contribution is estimated at 1.5% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

  The EPA also compiles national statistics on waste generation and management in Ireland. EPA figures indicate 2.9 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated in Ireland in 2018, of which 38% was recycled, 43% was used in energy recovery and 14% was landfilled. Figures show that disposal of municipal waste to landfill has fallen sharply over the last 20 years reducing from 58% in 2010 and over 80% in 2001. The Landfill Directive sets a limit on the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill; by 2020, it had to be reduced to 35% of the total quantity (by weight) of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) produced in 1995. Ireland has been in compliance with this target for some time with 145, 000 tonnes of BMW disposed to landfill in 2019. Further information on Ireland’s national waste statistics is available at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/.

  The EPA have recently published the results of research examining the impact of Ireland’s landfill policy on greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector over the period 1990 to 2018. The authors note that the net methane emissions from MSW landfilled was lower by 56.5% compared to their peak in 1995 with analysis indicating that Ireland’s policies regarding landfilling of waste has been associated with a substantial reduction in methane emissions in the waste sector. This research is available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/sss/ex-postanalysisoftheimpactofnationallandfillpolicy.html.

  In addition, work is being carried out in the context of the forthcoming Climate Action Plan to provide a means for calculating emissions savings arising from diverting material away from disposal or recovery, further up the waste hierarchy into recycling or reuse.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 19. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if, in the context of setting carbon reduction baselines, credit is given to this country for the amount of wetlands, bog lands, forestry, trees, hedgerows and grasslands when compared with other food producers throughout Europe and elsewhere, whose productions methods do not equate with this country in terms of emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18011/21]

 21. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if the eco-friendly nature of Ireland’s agri-food production sector is taken into account in the context of carbon reduction with particular reference to permanent pasture, hedges and forestry and wet areas; if not, if Ireland is being treated in the same manner as other countries that do not have a beef eco-friendly production method; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17656/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos 19 and 21 together.

  As set out in the Programme for Government, we are committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, equivalent to a 51% reduction over the decade and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  The Programme for Government also recognises the special economic and social role of agriculture and the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane, as described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in terms of plans and strategies to achieve these targets.

  While emissions from the agri-food sector have continued to increase, Irish agriculture has a positive international reputation in terms of producing high quality, sustainable produce. The long-term challenge for the sector is to fully contribute to achieving a climate neutral economy no later than 2050, while not compromising our capacity for sustainable food production. The Government is committed to finding the balance between environmental, climate and biodiversity needs and supports for farmers.

  Measurement of agriculture and land-use emissions from each Member State is carried out on a consistent basis, which captures the individual characteristics of each Member State, including Ireland.

  Article 13.7 of the Paris Agreement, of which both the EU and its Member States are signatories, requires signed parties to provide regular greenhouse gas emissions inventories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in order to track both a country’s achievement of their nationally determined contributions and climate policies as well as regional climate policies, and the world's progress in limiting global warming. The UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories for Annex I Parties (which covers EU Member States) require that Annex I Parties should use the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories to measure emissions inventories. This ensures consistency of measurement across Member States.

Compensation Schemes

 20. Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh Information on Marc Ó Cathasaigh Zoom on Marc Ó Cathasaigh asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan his plans to compensate drift and draft net fishers affected by the 2007 ban on commercial salmon fishing; his views on whether the hardship scheme introduced following the ban should be reopened to relevant fishers who did not avail of it at the time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18061/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Commercial fishing for salmon is by way of public licence which does not confer any rights on the holder. In that regard the issue of compensation does not arise.

In order to comply with the EU Habitats Directive and the principles of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO), the Government decided in 2006 to cease all indiscriminate commercial fishing in the sea and to manage all salmon fisheries strictly in line with scientific advice. On foot of that decision, in 2007, the Government introduced a hardship scheme open to all holders of a commercial salmon licence.

Funding of €25m was made available for direct payments to former fishermen, based on their track record in the fishery, with a further €5m available for projects in affected communities.

The scheme closed in 2008 with all funds expended and there are currently no plans to introduce a similar scheme.

  Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 19.

Postal Services

 22. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan further to Parliamentary Question No. 59 of 3 March 2021, if An Post will be contacted in relation to the matter given the person has not been contacted in order to resolve the issue; if the matter will be highlighted with the relevant authorities in order to rectify same (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17660/21]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton As I indicated in my previous reply to the Deputy this is an operational matter directly for An Post. The matter has already been referred to the company to investigate and respond directly to the individual concerned. The Deputy's further Parliamentary Question had been brought to the attention of the company.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 23. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the full extent of existing capacity to sequestrate carbons by way of permanent grassland, forestry, trees, hedges and wetlands in Ireland; if this has been taken into account in determining the baseline for carbon emissions in this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17667/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The Programme for Government outlined a commitment to evaluating the potential for contributions towards our climate ambition from land-use improvements and set in train the development of a land-use plan, based on its findings. This review will include farmland, forests and peatlands so that optimal land use options inform relevant government decisions. The review will balance environmental, social, and economic considerations and involve a process of evaluation of the ecological characteristics of the land. It will include consideration of emissions to air and water, carbon sequestration, and climate adaptation challenges. The working group with responsibility for this review is being jointly managed by my Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  While EU Member States currently report emissions and removals from the land use sector, such emissions are not currently accounted for in relation to the calculation of compliance with emissions targets in the period to 2020. This will change with the application of a new EU land use accounting system for the period 2021-2030 which will apply from 2023 (when accounting will commence retrospectively for the year 2021) and will set specific targets for emissions and removals from land use.  The impact of emissions and removals from five out of six land use sectors will be included in the new system from 2021 to 2025 (Managed Cropland, Managed Grassland, Afforestation, Deforestation, and Managed Forests), with Member States having the option to include the impact of the sixth, “Managed Wetland”, in this first period. Ireland opted in to include the impact of Managed Wetland on greenhouse gas emissions and removals for the period 2021 to 2025. This voluntary accounting puts Ireland on a stronger footing for accounting for greenhouse gas emissions and removals and in making the strategic changes required to support the country to meet our national, European and international climate change targets.

  Ireland’s National Inventory Report 2020, published by the Environmental Protection Agency, reports that Ireland was a net emitter from the land use sector in 2018, emitting a total of 4.3 MTCO2eq.

Air Quality

 24. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the amount of dedicated funding that will be provided to each local authority to monitor and enforce the smoky coal ban and any future solid fuel regulations as part of the forthcoming clean air strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17700/21]

 25. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the status of the forthcoming clean air strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17701/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 25 together.

My Department is currently working to finalise Ireland’s first National Clean Air Strategy. While it was originally my intention to launch the Strategy alongside a public consultation on a new solid fuel regulation for Ireland, recognising the urgency of taking action to address the health impacts of domestic solid fuel burning, I have chosen to progress the development of enhanced solid fuel regulations in advance. This decision will also allow submissions received during the public consultation process to inform and contribute to the final strategy document.

The Strategy will identify and promote the integrated measures and actions across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives. In line with the Programme for Government, the Clean Air Strategy will also support the development of a regional approach to air quality enforcement and a multi-agency approach to clamping down on the sale of high-sulphur content fuel imported from the UK.

Such coordinated action is required given the links between burning of solid fuels and the health effects of air pollution, as well as the potential for market distortion for businesses properly adhering to the regulations.

Discussions with the Local Authority sector have commenced with the intention of establishing dedicated resources within regional lead authorities to provide co-ordination, expertise and advice to support consistent implementation of air quality legislation across the country. My Department is fully committed to supporting Local Authorities in this regard, including through the provision of additional supports for the most effective model of enforcement.

National Broadband Plan

 26. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the position regarding the 70 primary schools which are to be connected to broadband as part of the National Broadband Plan by the end of quarter 1 of 2021; the number of these schools that have been connected; if this timeframe will be reached for all 70 schools; if not, the expected timeframe for the remaining schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17758/21]

 27. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan when broadband will be rolled out to a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17760/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 27 together.

  Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are a key element of the NBP providing high speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll out of the fibre to the home network. As of 31 March, some 293 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and will be connected with high speed publicly accessible broadband through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development. School BCPs will be provided with high speed broadband for educational use as part of this initiative through ‘service provider' contracts managed by the Department of Education. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.

  As of 31 March, 112 Schools have been installed by NBI with high speed broadband of which 35 schools have been connected through the Department of Education contracts with the remaining 35 schools in the process of being connected.

  An acceleration of the schools aspect of the BCP programme was announced last December. This will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by end 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026. The individual school referred to by the Deputy is one of these 679 schools that are now to be connected ahead of the original schedule and I understand from National Broadband Ireland that the anticipated date for installation is in Q4 of this year.

National Broadband Plan

 28. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the status of the roll-out of broadband in an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17766/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The Question refers to a premises located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led intervention.

  I appreciate people's frustration when they are living so close to a fibre network but cannot get a connection to that network, particularly given the heightened importance of connectivity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The NBP will ensure that in all such cases a future proofed high speed broadband network will be built to serve these premises and work to deliver on this is underway.

  I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that, as of 24 March 2021, over 196,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed. In County Kerry there are 26,988 premises in the Intervention Area of which 16,382 premises have been surveyed including in the areas of Muckross, Fossa, Kilcummin, Lissivigeen, Ballycasheen, Faha, Firies, Ballyhar,Curraheen, Abbeydorney, Kilflynn, Firies, Castlemaine, Ardfert. Surveys are underway in Rathmore, Knocknacopple, Mounthorgan, Kilquane Upper, Barraduff, Cloonteens, Gneevgullia, Tureenamult, Renasup, Castlegregory, Aughacasla, Camp, Knockbrack, Maum, Lougher, Inch, Annascaul, Derrygorman, Ballyglasheen, Brackluin, Ballintarmon, Drom, An Clochan, Kilshannig, Fahamore, Candeehy Breanainn, Ballyheigue, Glenderry, Ladywell, Banna, Lerrig, Ballymacandrew, Causeway, Foxfort, Ballymacaquinn, Ballincloher, Dromartin and Beenconeen. Build works have started in the areas around Tralee in Curraheen, Abbeydorney, Kilflynn, Firies, Castlemaine and Ardfert. Pre-works in the Kilarney area have also commenced.

  Further details are available on specific areas within County Kerry through the NBI website which provides a facility for any premises within the intervention area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website www.nbi.ie. Individuals who register with this facility will receive regular updates on progress by NBI on delivering the network and specific updates related to their own premises as works commence. I am advised that NBI is working to provide more detail on its website, with a rolling update on network build plans. NBI also has a dedicated email address, reps@nbi.ie, which can be used by Oireachtas members for specific queries.

  Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are a key element of the NBP providing high speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll out of the fibre to the home network. As of 24 March, 290 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and the high speed broadband service will be switched on in these locations through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly accessible sites and the Department of Education for schools. BCP sites installed in Kerry are Gneeveguilla (Tureencahill), Railway Station Heritage Centre and Community Space, Inch Community Centre, Kielduff Community Centre and Cillín Liath. Cable Station and Chapeltown are installed and connected. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.

  Boheeshil National School, Dunloe Upper and Coars National School are connected as part of this initiative. My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise schools with no high speed broadband, within the Intervention Area, for connection over the term of the NBP. In this regard, an acceleration of this aspect of the National Broadband Plan was announced in December which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026. Further details are available on the NBI website at https://nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.

Energy Efficiency

 29. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if there are grants available to install a wood pellet stove; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17777/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers a range of grant schemes to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. Partial grants are available for individuals that can afford to contribute to the cost of upgrades as well as free energy efficiency retrofits for people at risk of energy poverty. Since 2000, over 400,000 homeowners have upgraded their homes with support from these schemes. This has resulted in warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes that are easier and cheaper to heat and light. The 2021 budget for SEAI residential and community schemes is €221.5 million – the largest ever allocation for these schemes.

SEAI grants encourage homeowners to reduce heat loss through the installation of insulation and ventilation in the first instance, before moving to replace heating systems. This is in line with the fabric first principle and best practice.

Grants for residential pellet burning heating systems are not available as an individual measure. However, grants for pellet burning stoves are available when included as part of a wider energy efficiency upgrade under the Community Energy Grant Scheme and the National Retrofit (One-stop-shop development) Scheme. Stoves installed must meet certain requirements and specifications.

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings over the next 10 years. Heat pumps are an attractive and extremely efficient alternative to stoves. Furthermore, heat pumps are very economical to run offering lower energy costs to homeowners as well as reduced carbon emissions.

Outside of the residential sector, the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) has been developed to financially support and stimulate the adoption of renewable heating systems by commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating and other non-domestic heat users not covered under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The SSRH, which is operated by the SEAI, provides an operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems. Eligible renewable energy technologies are supported through a multi-annual payment, for a period of up to 15 years, on the basis of prescribed tariffs. The National Development Plan sets out an allocation of €300 million for the roll-out of the scheme for the period up to 2027. The introduction of the scheme provides an indirect stimulus to the indigenous wood pellet industry.

Further information on SEAI grants is available at www.seai.ie/grants or by calling 1850 927 000.

Waste Data

 30. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the volume of materials collected across the network of bring centres; the composition of same; and the way this has changed compared with five and ten years ago, respectively.  [17871/21]

 31. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the way materials collected at bring centres are processed, broken down by the amounts that go to hazardous waste disposal, to reuse outlets and to recycling; the way the residue is disposed of; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17872/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 31 together.   

  In 2018 137,000 tonnes of waste materials (excluding waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and construction and demolition (C&D) waste) was collected at the various civic amenity sites in Ireland. This was an increase of approximately 7,000 tonnes on volumes collected in 2013.

  The 2018 total included 30,000 tonnes mixed residual waste, 28,000 tonnes bulky waste, 18,400 tonnes garden waste, 15,000 tonnes wood and 8,950 tonnes metals. Hazardous waste, which includes items such as batteries, paints, inks, hydraulic or lubricating oils, aerosols and detergents, amounted to 2,200 tonnes.

  All materials accepted at civic amenity sites are segregated at the point of deposition into the various waste streams.

  - Municipal Waste Streams - The materials are shipped for processing at Material Recycling Facilities where they are baled for reprocessing. Any material not suitable for reprocessing (approximately 10%-20%) is prepared to Solid Refuse Fuel (SRF) specifications for use as a replacement fossil fuel.

  - C&D Waste Streams - The materials are shipped to C&D sorting facilities where the streams are separated into their component parts. All the sorted material is recycled/recovered apart from C&D fines which is generally estimated at < 1% of the total stream and this is sent to landfill for disposal.

  - Hazardous Waste Stream - Hazardous materials are packaged into UN containers on the civic amenity site and exported for recovery at waste to energy plants abroad.

  - Compost Materials - All material is shipped for recycling to Compost and Anaerobic Digestion facilities in Ireland.

  - WEEE - WEEE is collected for recycling /reuse by the Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) schemes.

  - Reuse - The direct reuse of materials takes place at a number of civic amenity sites and consideration is being given to expanding this.

  The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, which I launched in September 2020, contains a commitment to formalise the role of civic amenity sites and agree a standard list of waste streams to be accepted at such sites. In this regard the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices, with support from my Department, have recently published a National Review of Civic Amenity Sites, which is available online at: http://www.southernwasteregion.ie/content/national-review-civic-amenity-sites .

  Discussions have commenced with the local authority sector on implementation of the report recommendations. This will allow civic amenity sites to play a greater role in our transition to a more circular economy through measures such as coordinated education and awareness programmes, greater uptake of reuse schemes, standardising a list of waste streams accepted at such sites and collective approaches to extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, and this will assist in continuing our success in reducing the amount of waste disposed of at landfills.

Waste Data

 32. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the estimated proportion of the volumes put onto the market that are recovered in respect of each of the extended producer responsibility, EPR, schemes; the volumes that go to reuse outlets and to recycling; the way the residue is disposed of; the estimated cost of the scheme per tonne placed on the market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [17873/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The specific information sought is not held by my Department.    

  The EPA is the competent authority with responsibility for compiling waste data in Ireland and publishes annual reports on this. These reports assess Ireland’s performance against the recycling and recovery targets set out in EU and national legislation. Details of these national waste statistics can be found at www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/ .

  Information on the operations and finances of each EPR scheme is provided in their Annual Reports, which are published on their individual websites. Under their respective Ministerial approval EPR schemes are required to attain national and EU targets and to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery. They must also ensure that their actions proactively enable Ireland to transition towards a circular economy.

  Questions Nos. 33 and 34 answered with Question No. 18.

Waste Data

 35. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the current recycling rates achieved in Ireland on compostable materials and on each of the main categories for which waste recycling targets have been set for 2030; the respective levels that prevailed five years ago; and the target to be achieved in 2030. [17876/21]

 36. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the composition of all waste generated in Ireland across all sectors, not just in the municipal waste stream; and the way the weight of each category has evolved compared with five and ten years ago, respectively. [17877/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos. 35 and 36 together.   

  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the competent authority for the collation of national waste data and reports annually on Ireland’s performance against the targets set out in EU and national legislation.

  The EPA’s latest national waste statistics summary report for 2018 (available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/waste/stats/wastereport2020/#d.en.69209) includes key trends for 2018, and progress to targets. The report shows that the quantity of Irish waste treated by composting and anaerobic digestion rose to 436,000 tonnes in 2018, an increase of 15% on the previous year. Of this amount, 56% consisted of municipal waste, while other sources included wastes from agriculture, horticulture, forestry and food preparation and processing, and waste from waste management facilities and water/waste water treatment sludges. Information on volumes of waste accepted for composting or anaerobic digestion, on an annual basis going back to 2005, is available at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/composting/

  The EPA also provides information on Ireland’s progress in meeting targets under EU waste legislation including the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive and the Producer Responsibility Directives (Packaging and Packaging Waste, End-of-Life Vehicles, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, Batteries and Accumulators), and provides information at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/targets/. Further information on individual waste streams, historical data, and the latest available data for Ireland is available at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/.

Departmental Staff

 37. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he will provide a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administrative officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in his Department, by gender, in tabular form. [17908/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Grade   Female Male
Assistant Secretary   1 4
Principal Officer   13 24
Assistant Principal   55 74
Higher Executive Officer   43 33
Administrative Officer   20 29

Departmental Data

 38. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a schedule will be provided of the data sets, databases and file types his Department has shared with the Department of Health since 2000. [17971/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan My Department and the Department of Health are working together on the Warmth and Wellbeing housing retrofit pilot scheme. This work involves sharing files relating to the scheme. This does not include any personal data.

  My Department shares no other files or databases with the Department of Health.

General Data Protection Regulation

 39. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the number of complaints his Department has received from members of the public under the heading of general data protection regulation, GDPR, and data information requests from 2018 to date in 2021; the number of data information requests that have been refused and accepted, respectively; the number of GDPR requests refused; and the basis on which they were declined, in tabular form. [17989/21]

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

GDPR Subject Access Requests

Year Requests Received Requests Withdrawn Invalid Requests Valid Requests Refused Requests GDPR Complaints Received
2018 1 - - 1 - 0
2019 6 1 1* 4 2** 1
2020 9 5 1* 3 1** 1
2021 to date 2 1 - 1 0 0
  * Invalid on the basis that no valid ID was supplied to my Department.

  ** Refused on the basis that no records existed in my Department.


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