Written answers

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Departmental Policies

Photo of Brian LeddinBrian Leddin (Limerick City, Green Party)
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149. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his plans to develop a mechanism for evaluating embodied carbon in our existing building stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3653/23]

Photo of Francis Noel DuffyFrancis Noel Duffy (Dublin South West, Green Party)
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170. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the recent legislation in the Netherlands which regulates embodied carbon in the built environment; if he will consider introducing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3227/23]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 and 170 together.

Embodied Carbon of Construction materials is being considered under emissions from the Industry Sector in Climate Action Plan 2023. Through Climate Action Plan 2023, Government will actively deliver a series of measures to reduce embodied carbon in construction materials, and emissions from cement production including:

- Specifying low carbon construction methods and low carbon cement material as far as practicable for directly procured or supported construction projects from 2023.

- Publish new Green Public Procurement Strategy and Action Plan, identifying an appropriate monitoring and reporting protocol that includes the monitoring of the implementation of low carbon construction in public tenders and grant schemes.

- SEAI to commence developing an embodied carbon building rating calculation methodology taking account of CPR (where available) and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive from 2025.

The review of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 (known as the Constructions Products Regulations or “the CPR”) was confirmed by the European Green Deal in December 2019 and the Circular Economy Action Plan in March 2020. In parallel, the European Commission initiated discussion on an implementation plan for a future environmental life cycle assessment framework for construction products, looking at the impacts on the wider environment that occur during the whole life cycle of a construction product.

My Department participates in the European Council Working Party meetings on a revised CPR. The intention of the revised CPR is to strengthen and modernise the rules for placing construction products on the market, reduce market barriers, address the sustainability performances of construction products and embrace the digital transformation.

While I am aware of legislation in the Netherlands referred to, all Member States will be obliged to follow this harmonised procedure via harmonised technical specifications for construction products, when a consensus of approach emerges. In that regard, it would be counter to harmonisation to develop national rules for matters covered by the Internal Market regulation.

In parallel, my Department, in partnership with the National Standards Authority of Ireland and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, is also working closely with the European Commission and other Member States to plan for and organise future work to adapt the harmonised technical specifications. This process (known as the CPR Acquis process) will also develop criteria to facilitate a uniform approach to the declaration of the environmental sustainability of construction products.

From a national policy perspective, the National Planning Framework (NPF) provides an established means to implement and integrate climate change objectives, including adaptation, at local level and the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society.

National Policy Objective 35 seeks to increase residential density in settlements, through a range of measures including reductions in vacancy, re-use of existing buildings and infill development schemes, all of which underpin the role that existing building stock plays in the reduction of carbon emissions.


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