Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Just Transition Fund
38. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will include the horticultural peat industry in the just transition programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9295/21]
As Minister I have no direct role in relation to the horticulture sector. A working group has been established by the Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to examine the future role of peat in the horticulture sector and next steps.
The objective of the 2020 Just Transition Fund is to fund innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region, and which have employment and enterprise potential. The call for applications to the Fund closed in July 2020.
Provisional offers have been made to 47 projects in the Midlands through the Just Transition Fund under Strand 2, totalling €27.8m in funding to the region, subject to project verification and state aid eligible costs. This is in addition to the €1.2m announced for 16 projects last September under Strand 1. Further details of these projects can be found on the Just Transition Gov.ie webpage.
Ireland will also receive funding from the EU Just Transition Fund. This will be used to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of the low carbon transition in the most affected regions across the EU by, for example, supporting the re-skilling of workers, helping SMEs to create new economic opportunities, and diversification of economic activity. Ireland has secured an allocation of €77 million from the EU Just Transition Fund for investments over the period 2021 to 2027. In accordance with the relevant EU legislation, Ireland must now prepare a Territorial Just Transition Plan, for approval by the European Commission, in order to secure access to its EU allocation of funding. This Plan will set out Ireland’s proposed investment priorities as well as targeted sectors and regions.
Work on this plan has commenced in my Department and will be supported by technical assistance under the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Programme, which will assist in the development of the evidence base to inform the selection of investment priorities for inclusion in the Territorial Plan. I envisage that this work will be completed in the first half of this year.