Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
National Development Plan
154. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the role his Department has in ensuring the national development plan fulfils required climate actions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2365/23]
My Department is responsible for the allocation of public funds across each area of Government spending and to ensure that expenditure is managed by Departments in line with these allocations. The responsibility for the management and delivery of investment projects, within the allocations agreed under the National Development Plan 2021 – 2030 (NDP), rests with the individual sponsoring Department in each case.
It was not, therefore, the role of the NDP to set out a specific blueprint for the achievement of Ireland’s climate targets. Rather, Departments in receipt of the capital investment allocations are directly responsible for developing a detailed suite of policies and measures to maximise the impact of this planned investment in a way that is consistent with the achievement of Ireland’s climate ambitions.
As part of the NDP review completed in October 2021, my Department undertook an assessment of the contribution that the Exchequer-funded capital spending in the NDP would make to seven climate and environmental outcomes – climate mitigation, climate adaptation, water quality, air quality, waste & circular economy, nature & biodiversity and just transition. This was the first time the Government undertook a systematic climate and environmental assessment of all capital expenditure plans. Further information on this assessment is available in the National Development Plan 2021-2030 (www.gov.ie/en/publication/774e2-national-development-plan-2021-2030/) and supplementary material (www.gov.ie/en/publication/77fe2-national-development-plan-phase-1-report-2021/ ).
In interpreting the results of this analysis it is important to remember that a positive assessment was not an endorsement of the proposed measures, and a negative assessment did not mean that these measures are incompatible with the achievement of Ireland’s climate and environmental objectives. An unfavourable assessment demonstrated that there should be an increased focus on ensuring that the climate and environmental impact of this investment is minimised in so far as is possible. All measures will be subject to the requirement to achieve value for money. This requires analysis of the strategic fit of the proposal with public policy, including national policy on climate action, and a quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of investment proposals, including greenhouse gas emissions.