Thursday, 27 May 2021
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
144. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will confirm that the commitment in the Programme for Government Our Shared Vision that €1.5 billion raised from carbon taxes up to 2030 will be returned to agriculture by means of environmental schemes in which all farmers can partake and that the funding of any such scheme will be in addition to funding provided under the CAP programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28833/21]
The Programme for Government recognises the special economic and social role that agriculture plays in Ireland, but also commits to the creation of schemes that will encourage and incentivise farmers to farm in a greener and more sustainable way. This is with the aim of developing a sustainable Irish agricultural sector that protects the environment and aligns with emerging consumer sentiment, while benefiting farmers and rural communities.
The Programme for Government commits to the allocation of €1.5bn in projected carbon tax receipts over the next ten years for this purpose. The first step in meeting this commitment was in Budget 2021 through the allocation of €20m in anticipated additional carbon tax receipts for the creation of pilot environmental programmes. This was supplemented with the continuation of the €3m in funding that was provided for agricultural programmes from carbon tax receipts in 2020, bringing the total funding for carbon tax supported measures in the agricultural sector to €23m in 2021.
These funds are being used to create an innovative, results-based pilot scheme for farmers who improve the bio-diversity and carbon management of their land, by undertaking specific actions which they report directly based on the results generated from their actions.
The use of carbon funds in 2021 was detailed in the Budget Day publication "The Use of Carbon Tax Funds 2021" which continues to be available on the budget.gov.ie website. Carbon tax funding in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine is allocated to a specific sub-head, B.13, against which progress on spending the allocated funds can be tracked.
Questions regarding the operational details of the pilot programmes should be directed to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine. Regarding the Common Agricultural Programme, it is my understanding that the CAP Strategic Plan is in still in development by the Minister for Agriculture, Food Marine and it is envisaged that a draft plan will be published for a full and thorough public consultation in the coming weeks.