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Budget 2017 Statement by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten: Broadband, Energy Efficiency and Digital Economy focus areas for Budget 2017

11 October 2016

 

  • €100 million for energy efficiency projects €15 million for National Broadband Plan
  • Capital allocation to increase by €45m, , to more than €170m
  • Total 2017 Budget €529 million

 

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., today announced his Department's Budget 2017 allocation. "Climate action, energy, broadband connectivity and the digital economy are amongst the most significant strategic sectors for Ireland's economic, employment and social recovery, and Budget 2017 demonstrates committed and ongoing support for these key areas."

 

Broadband Connectivity and the Digital Economy

Broadband connectivity remains a key social, economic and political priority.

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) will play an integral role in revitalizing businesses and communities across provincial towns in rural Ireland, and additional funding of €5m has been set aside to finalise the tender process in 2017 bringing the total allocation for the National Broadband Plan in 2017 to 15 million .

A further €8m will facilitate the reallocation of the 700mhz spectrum away from TV broadcasting to support broadband and mobile telephony plans in rural areas. In freeing up a very valuable spectrum band, this crucial investment will deliver better mobile data services (including 5G), particularly in rural areas.

€3 million will be spent on the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, which helps small businesses develop their trading online capacity, as well as offering training, mentoring and support.

 

Energy and Climate Action

Energy and climate action are inextricably linked, and the Minister has affirmed this Government's determination to meet the Paris Agreement targets within the next 398 months.

To this end, €500,000 will be directed to the establishment of a National Dialogue on Climate Change, while an additional €24m – an increase of 35% on last year - will target expanded energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes across the country.

In 2017, at least €100m will be invested on energy projects, saving over 116,000 tonnes in carbon emissions every year, reducing overall dependence on imported fossil fuels, and supporting around 3,000 jobs.

The transition away from carbon-based fuels remains a long-term goal; €7 million has been allocated to a new Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme to help achieve this.

A further €2 million will be allocated to the Better Energy Homes Scheme to support individual householders in making energy efficiency improvements to their homes, while an additional €4 million will be allocated to the Better Energy Communities Scheme.

The Warmth and Wellbeing pilot scheme will also be expanded and its total allocation for 2017 will be increased to €8 million.

 

Environment Protection

An additional €2 million is being provided for the Environment Protection Agency to target illegal dumpers and €13 million for landfill remediation will be spent next year to clean up our landfill sites.

 

These measures are additional or enhanced commitments in the context of an overall budget in 2017 of €529 million.

 

ENDS

 

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