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Press Release & Press Conference Opening Remarks by Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Denis Naughten T.D. re Budget 2018

Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Denis Naughten T.D. Press Release re Budget 2018

 

  • Energy Efficiency (€117m): Significantly expand the energy efficiency programmes investing an additional €35m in the residential, commercial and public sectors to reduce CO2 emissions from the built environment
  • Supporting the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy (€17m): Rollout the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and increase uptake of electric vehicles
  • National Broadband Plan (€15m): Finalisation of the procurement process for the State-led intervention
  • Support Small Businesses & Digital Skills (€5.6m): Support more small businesses to trade online and fund the provision of digital skills training for citizens
  • Support the Environmental Protection Agency (€34.8m): Support the EPA to meet its expanded role in areas such as air quality and noise monitoring, and the climate change challenge
  • Environmentally-degraded landfill sites (€11m): Continue to address environmentally-degraded landfill sites

 

Tuesday, 10th October 2017

Budget 2018 provides a 22% increase in Capital funding, and an 11% increase in net Current funding, resulting in a total allocation of €581m for the Department. This reflects the scale of the Government's ambition and policy commitments across key areas of national strategic importance, including climate action, energy, communications, broadcasting, environment and natural resources. 

Announcing his Department's increased funding allocation, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., said "This significant increase in funding allows my Department to deliver a step change in efforts to improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses and across the public sector. Building on the National Mitigation Plan, the Budget reflects the incremental steps necessary to ensure a low carbon, climate resilient and sustainable future.  We will continue to build on this start over successive Budgets".

The Minister added: "Budget 2018 demonstrates the Government's ongoing commitment to regional and rural Ireland. Funding has been set aside to finalise the tender process for the National Broadband Plan intervention which is a key social and economic priority for me, and to promote digital inclusion among businesses and citizens." 

 

Key Priorities

    • An additional €35m allocated for the expansion of energy efficiency programmes targeted at reducing CO2 emissions in the residential, commercial and public sectors, bringing total investment in this area to €117m
      • Funding of €7m will facilitate the rollout of the new Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme 
      • Funding of €10m was secured to incentivise the use of electric vehicles 
  • €15m has been allocated to the National Broadband Plan, as the Department moves to the finalisation of the procurement process to ensure that every home and business in Ireland has access to high speed broadband
     
  • Funding of €5.6m will be provided  for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme to support more small companies to trade online to help them grow sales, jobs and exports, and for the Digital Skills for Citizens training programme to help citizens get online for the first time.
     
  • Funding of €11m will be provided to continue the landfill remediation programme, while other measures to protect the environment include anti-dumping initiatives and the promotion of waste prevention and recycling in the transition to a resource-efficient circular economy.
     
  • Increased funding for the EPA to meet its expanded role in areas such as air quality and noise monitoring, as well as its research programme with a significant focus on climate change. 

Ends

 

The Ministers speech can be accessed below or at the following link: http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/news-and-media/speeches/Pages/Minister-Denis-Naughten-announces-details-of-Department's-2018-budget.aspx

 

 

 

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Budget 2018 Press Conference

October 10th 2017

Press Conference Opening Remarks by

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD

 

 

Check Against Delivery 

Today, the step change in political commitment which the establishment of my department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment marked and which Budget 2017 underpinned, was further built on.   

I have secured a total capital investment of almost €1.1 billion from 2018 to 2021. This multi-annual budget will primarily focus on energy efficiency.  

Except for Housing the biggest capital increase in 2017 and 2018 across Government is in my own Department. 

Delivering on the scale of change I am determined to lead and I believe people are willing to embrace, will be transformational. It is a marathon not a sprint.

Energy efficiency is the best contribution to tackling climate change. Since becoming Minister, I have achieved a step change of 83% in the overall energy allocation.  

In 2018, the capital funding will be invested in sustainable energy projects which will save over 120,000 tonnes in carbon emissions every year, supporting around 3,500 jobs, mainly rural, while also reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Next year we will spend 43% more on energy efficiency programmes than this year. In money terms that means we are moving from a base at the formation of this government of 84 million in 2016 to €154 million in 2018.  

This means a commitment to thousands of actions, in thousands of homes and businesses across the country. It is about boilers, roofs, walls and windows. It is reclaiming one home at a time, for the best standard we can provide, for a sustainable future. It is painstaking work that makes a lasting difference. 

The difference can be measured in giving comfort at home, in delivering greater efficiency in business and the public sector, in tackling fuel poverty for the disadvantaged, in saving on energy now and in tackling climate change globally.  

I want the public sector to reduce consumption and play their part in moving Ireland to a low-carbon future.  When I published the Public Sector Energy Efficiency strategy in January this year, I secured Government agreement that public bodies that save energy can keep the money they save on energy bills to put back into services, facilities and equipment.  This is a clear incentive that sits alongside the obligation on public bodies to improve their energy efficiency by 33% by 2020.  I have allocated €9 million to help deliver on this objective in 2018. 

Committing more resources on energy is accompanied by more resources for the environment and waste management. In Budget 2018 we are spending 19% more next year, which builds on the base created by an increase of 31% in 2017. Over these two years expenditure on the environment is increasing from €42 million when I took office, to €65 million next year. That's an increase of 55%. 

Energy efficiency, climate change and our environment are all part of one holistic whole.

This year the Environmental Protection Agency will be allocated €35 million more to regulate, to research, and to advocate for our environment. Let me explain the difference some of this allocation will make.  

Air quality is critical for our health. Measuring it is essential, to policing it. We have 30 monitoring sites in place now and we will deliver another 12 next year and a further 12 in 2019.  

This is important for us all, but particularly for the one in five children who have asthma in this country and those people at risk of respiratory illness.

Funding of €10m will be allocated to the EPA's research programme, with a significant focus on climate change next year.   

The scourge of illegal dumping is not something we as a people will tolerate. More than €1.3 million will be allocated again next year to deal with this head on. 

But money alone cannot solve our litter problems. It requires behavioural change and personal responsibility.   

We have to enable people take action to avoid, to reduce and to reuse so I have allocated €1.6 million to fund a national waste awareness campaign. 

Tackling waste, saving energy and ensuring we have clear air are all steps towards a cleaner environment, towards tackling climate change and part of a circular economy.

Also part of that circular economy are key investments in electric vehicles.  

I have secured a doubling of the budget next year to €10 million to incentivise the use of electric vehicles. New grants to support the installation of home charge points will be available from the 1st of January for new and second-hand electric cars; there will be a 0% rate of benefit in kind for electric vehicles for one year as an interim measure while a review of benefit in kind on vehicles will take place in the meantime. 

Additional funding will be provided to support the provision of public charging with an increase on the number of rapid chargers. I also intend to launch a new Electric Vehicle Public Awareness Campaign to drive uptake.  

It will include an awareness campaign, a public driver experience roadshow, public sector and commercial fleet trials, and an electric car sharing programme. 

My colleague the Minister for Transport Shane Ross will be announcing additional measures on electric vehicles tomorrow.

 

DIGITAL

Small businesses are the backbone of our towns and villages but only less than 1 in 4 trade online. People are now spending almost €14,000 every minute online but a staggering €10,000 of this goes overseas.  Businesses need to trade online to grow.  

For this reason €3 million will be spent next year on my Department's Trading Online Voucher Scheme to support a further 1,500 small businesses to develop their digital capabilities. 

Transforming Irish small businesses to adopt trading online has the potential to spread real growth to all regions. Ireland's digital economy is predicted to be worth €21bn by 2020. 

Last year I launched the new Digital Skills for Citizens Scheme to give people who have never used the internet the confidence and skills needed to take their first steps online.  

Under the scheme, community and voluntary organisations will receive funding of €2.2 million to provide more than 30,000 people with 10 hours of free digital skills training.  

Training is targeted at people over 45, farming communities, small business owners, the unemployed, persons with disabilities and disadvantaged groups and is delivered in local communities across every county.

A key social, economic and political priority for me is Broadband and the National Broadband Plan in particularThis Plan will play an integral role revitalizing businesses and communities across provincial towns in rural Ireland.  Additional funding of €15m has been set aside to finalize the tender process in 2018. 

There is not just an economic need. There is a social necessity for high speed broadband. Seventeen months ago only five out of ten premises had access to high-speed broadband. Today that is closer to seven out of ten premises. By the end of next year it will rise to almost eight out of ten. By 2020 more than nine out of ten premises (at least 91%) will have access to high-speed broadband.  

As of today and under the commercial stimulus provided under the national broadband plan, Ireland has now become a global broadband leader with 13% of premises outside of our cities now with direct access to pure fibre, 1000 megabits per second, super-fast broadband. I am not aware of any other country on the planet that has achieved this particular milestone. 

This year mobile and wireless operators spent €78m in the acquisition of rights in the 3.6 gigahertz spectrum auction, which released 86% more capacity to the industry.

As a result Ireland is the first country to have successfully concluded a spectrum auction to facilitate the roll-out of 5G.

We are on the vanguard of Europe in deploying 5G by both fixed and wireless operators. This allows them provide faster fixed wireless and mobile services to their customers. 

A number of the successful bidders are now looking to deploy fixed 5G and I've been informed by one company that it expects to cover 85% of the land mass of Ireland by 2019.

€8m is currently being invested to facilitate the reallocation of the 700mhz spectrum away from TV broadcasting to support our broadband and mobile telephony plans in rural areas. 

This means a very valuable spectrum band is being freed up to deliver better mobile data services in rural areas.

Broadband is not primarily a budgetary issue. It's about people trying to cope in the modern world, without the essential means to do so. The fact of roll-out elsewhere only deepens the relative isolation of those who still remain behind. This is about families, it's about children. It's about farmers and small businesses coping day to day. It my job, to make their life easier. This is the single issue that is my personal political imperative.

The economy, our climate, the communications networks that link us together and support our jobs, enhance our quality of life and underline the viability of our communities are priorities that were chosen by this government on its very first day in office.

They are connected; not stand alone responsibilities. Leadership from government, and from me has to be seen and be tangible. We are all called to be deciders, implementers and change makers, not passive observers.

Budget 2018 delivers leadership. It builds on what is done. It develops capacity to do more. In delivering resources, it underlines our priorities. In enabling homes and businesses to makes critical changes, it changes culture.

In changing together, we can tackle climate change successfully. That is why this department was established. That is what this budget is for. 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

 

DCCAE Vote 2018 SUMMARY FIGURES

 

Allocation20182017Increase
Capital€209m€171m€38m (+ 22%)
Current€372m€357m  €15m (+4% or +11% excluding TV licence receipts)
Total€581m€528m€53m (+10%)

 

Total capital investments of almost €1.1 billion will be funded over the period 2018- 2021, (representing an increased capital allocation of €200m following the review of the Capital Plan).


 

SUMMARY ESTIMATES 2018 – Key measures

Selected MeasuresCost in 2018
€million
Energy Efficiency
Significantly expand the energy efficiency programmes investing an additional €35m in the residential, commercial and public sectors to reduce CO2 emissions from the built environment
117
Supporting the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy
Rollout the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and increase uptake of electric vehicles
17
National Broadband Plan
Finalisation of the procurement process for the State-led intervention
15
Support Small Businesses & Digital Skills
Support more small businesses to trade online and fund the provision of digital skills training for citizens
    5.6
Support the Environmental Protection Agency
Support the EPA to meet its expanded role in areas such as air quality and noise monitoring, and the climate change challenge
    34.8
Environmentally-degraded landfill sites
Continue to address environmentally-degraded landfill sites
11
Total   200.4

 

 

Resource Allocation 2018-2020

The multi-annual current expenditure ceilings for the Communications, Climate Action & Environment Vote Group for the period 2018-2020 are presented in the table below.

 

Communications, Climate Action and Environment201820192020
 €m€m €m
Gross Voted Current Expenditure372372372
Gross Voted Capital Expenditure209256297
Total Gross Voted Expenditure581628669

 

This funding will enable a significant level of services to be delivered across all programme areas in 2018. It reflects the scale of the Government's ambition and policy commitments across a number of areas of strategic national importance, including climate action, energy efficiency, communications, broadcasting, environment and natural resources.


 

Communications

The aim of this Programme is to contribute to the ongoing growth and development of Irish economy and society by facilitating investment in high speed broadband networks across the country, and by developing secure and innovative digital communications and services infrastructure, together with the promotion of digital adoption among businesses and citizens.

Under this programme, the 2018 allocation will allow the Department to: 

  • Move to the final stages of the National Broadband Plan procurement process, with a view to appointing a bidder(s) to provide high speed broadband infrastructure to 542,000 premises located within the State Intervention area;
  • Continue to promote engagement in the digital economy by indigenous small business supporting a further 1,500 small businesses to trade online through the Trading Online Voucher Scheme;
  • Continue to promote digital inclusion by providing digital literacy training under the Digital Skills for Citizens Scheme to support a further 30,000 citizens to get online for the first time, and
  • Expand the National Cyber Security Centre to strengthen its role in relation to the protection of Government networks and critical infrastructure.

 

Broadcasting

The aim of this programme is to support high quality public service broadcasting, and a broadcasting sector underpinned by a proportionate and effective regulatory regime.

Under this programme, the 2018 allocation will allow the Department to: 

  • Support the continued delivery by RTE of its public service objectives;
  • Support the continued delivery by TG4 of its public service objectives and, in particular, those in relation to the Irish language, and 
  • Stimulate the development of new television and radio programmes and the archiving of material through schemes established under the Broadcasting Fund.

 

Energy

The aim of this programme is to ensure the security, continuity and competitiveness of energy supply for the economy and for consumers, to promote the sustainability of energy supply and demand, and to contribute to the reduction of energy related emissions in the context of moving towards a low carbon economy as provided for in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act and in the Government's National Mitigation Plan.

Under this programme, the 2018 allocation will allow the Department to:  

  • Support the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in the performance of its mandate and the delivery of its commitments
  • Continue to invest in residential energy efficiency improvements, including new and expanded measures to support innovation and deep retrofit works;
  • Expand support to the business and public sectors to deliver significant energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions. Funding will facilitate strengthened support for the SME sector and deeper engagement with the large industrial energy users. It also allows enhanced support for public sector bodies in achieving the 33% energy efficiency target;
  • Continue to assist more citizens experiencing energy poverty through the Warmth & Wellbeing scheme, with a focus on delivering better health outcomes;
  • Continue to support the development of offshore renewable energy through the test site infrastructure;
  • Fund the delivery of the first phase of a new Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme, and
  • Increase the growth in electric vehicles through the purchase grant scheme which will support 1,200 new vehicles, the expansion of the charging network and the launch of a Public Awareness Campaign. 

 

Natural Resources

The aim of this Programme is to manage Ireland's mineral, hydrocarbon and other geological resources in a sustainable and productive manner, and provide reliable geoscience support for environmental protection and the sustainable development of Ireland's natural resources.

Under this programme, the 2018 allocation will allow the Department to: 

  • Regulate some 665 licencing and leasing activities encompassing mineral exploration and mining, and petroleum exploration and production;
  • Continue rehabilitation works at the former mining areas of Avoca, Co. Wicklow and Silvermines Co. Tipperary;
  • Expand the geo-environmental mapping project (Tellus) to achieve coverage of more than 50% of the country by end-2018, and progress Ireland's marine mapping programme (INFOMAR), and
  • Progress Groundwater investigations, including the new monitoring and advisory programme for groundwater and Turlough flooding, which will provide mapping for the next phase of the OPW flood programme.

 

Inland Fisheries

This Programme is aimed at the protection, conservation, development and promotion of Ireland's inland fisheries resource, including sea angling.

Under this programme, the 2018 allocation will allow the Department to support Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to:  

  • Carry out some 25,000 inspections of recreational anglers for licence/permit and other requirements;
  • Rehabilitate and maintain up to 35,000 metres of streams and assess 147 rivers, sections of rivers and estuaries as part of the annual salmon management programme;
  • Issue up to 18,000 recreational salmon angling licences and approximately 100 commercial salmon licences;
  • Upgrade IFI's sea going capacity which will enable better management of migratory salmonids off shore, and
  • Continue delivery of the National Strategy for Angling Development through a broad range of conservation, protection, access, information, promotion and other works. 


 

Environment and Waste Management

The aim of this programme is to promote the protection of our natural environment, the health and well-being of our citizens and the transition to a resource-efficient circular economy in support of ecologically sustainable development, growth and jobs.

Under this programme, the 2018 allocation will allow the Department to:  

  • Support the Environment Protection Agency in the performance of its legislative mandate and the delivery of its research commitments and obligations in areas including ambient air quality, non-ionising radiation and noise monitoring, as well as the climate change agenda;
  • Carry out remediation of waste sites to mitigate appropriately the risk to environmental and human health;
  • Continue to fund a national waste awareness campaign to target household waste collection, illegal dumping, end of life vehicles and tyres, and
  • Fund the technical and modelling analysis necessary to underpin national climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and progress the National Dialogue on Climate Action.

 

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