Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Local Government Performance Indicators and Public Spending Code: National Oversight and Audit Commission

Mr. Michael McCarthy:

It is an indicator for us presently but we are having some difficulty in collecting that particular data. There are two local authorities in my mind which we visited that did use this. I remember it was quite novel in one particular case, in that the local authority went into particularly aged housing stock where the house had less insulation and devised an energy scheme. I think it put in air to water heating with the effect that all of those houses are now heated in a climate-friendly way but also there was an improvement in air quality in that particular part of the town and this was really interesting. All of a sudden people were not burning coal or solid fuels which is in itself was a very good thing, but the air quality improved and there also was an improvement for the pocket. There were now groups of residents in a particular estate who were not negotiating the increase in the price of a bag of coal or trying to afford to heat their homes on a fixed income. Another local authority did something similar, the name of which has temporarily escaped me. That is why we are excited in NOAC to have climate as a particular performance indicator.

On page 96 of the PI report, we have a breakdown on public lighting under performance indicator E6. There are three headings on the table, namely, total billable wattage of the public system; average billable wattage of the public lighting system; and percentage of the total system that LED lights represent. If we go back a number of years, we probably would not be doing this from the climate perspective so it is really exciting for us. The Government has really strong ambitious targets around renewable energy and there is a very good continuing political discussion nowadays about climate. It is certainly taking political precedence and priority compared to a number of years ago when there was very few voices in that space with the honourable exception of the current Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, and his political party. Therefore, it is very important to see that being adopted from our perspective at local authority level where we can measure the climate ambitions and see who is doing well in terms of their plan and who is not. It is certainly the direction of travel in that very important subject.


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