Written answers

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Traveller Community

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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333. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the efforts being made to ensure that Travellers, those in rental accommodation and those in mortgage arrears, can access the better energy homes scheme for those on fuel allowance. [30400/19]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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Buildings constructed since 2006 are generally more energy efficient due to energy performance requirements in the Building Regulations. These Regulations have been progressively strengthened and new buildings must now meet a very high energy performance standard.

My Department funds a number of retrofit schemes that are primarily aimed at improving the energy efficiency of houses built before 2006. Grants are available to all house owners, including landlords, for insulation, heating controls, heat pumps and solar panels. These grants are not means tested and are available to any house owner whose property meets the required year of build.

100% Exchequer-funded upgrades are also available in certain circumstances. Again the house must have been built before 2006. Eligibility for this scheme is linked to a number of Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection payments.

I am aware of a recent report highlighting the prevalence of energy poverty among Travellers living in mobile homes and trailers. The Climate Action Plan commits to reviewing ways to improve how current energy poverty schemes can target those most in need.

My Department is also working to improve the energy efficiency of our rental sector. On average, these properties are less energy efficient than owner occupied homes. A cross-Departmental Advisory Group has been established to examine potential policy options and make recommendations aimed at addressing this issue. A public consultation on this matter is currently in development and will be published later in 2019.

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