I would like to express my strong support for the retention of the badly needed amendments Deputy Munster succeeded in making to the Bill on Report Stage in this House. One of the amendments, as set out on page 11 of the Bill that went to the Seanad, sought to evaluate the “projected impact on the well-being and health of local residents”. The other amendment, as set out on page 13 of the Bill that went to the Seanad, sought to require the new authorised regulator to conduct “an assessment of the impact of the decision on the well-being and health of local residents”. I would also like to express my strong support for my colleague, Deputy Brendan Ryan, who has proposed an amendment to Seanad amendment No. 1 to restore the basic safeguard that Deputy Munster managed to get into the Bill to ensure “the well-being and health of local residents is thoroughly evaluated”. Such a safeguard should be at the centre of this. It is inconceivable, unconscionable and hard to believe that the Minister has reneged on the decision of this House to apply such fundamental principles to the Bill.
The Minister of State knows about the targets we have for 2020 for carbon emissions, which we are dismally failing to reach. We have a new Minister announcing an all of Government action plan, which is presumably concerned with the actions that will be taken by each Department. What impact will that have on spending in 2019 and will there be supplementary budgets? We have had eight supplementary budgets already and I have a parliamentary question down on that but it is not an oral question. Will it mean additional supplementary budgets for each of the Departments so that this all of Government plan is covered?
The Minister will be aware that a few weeks ago the Zoological Society of London published the Living Planet Report 2018, which shows that the animal populations on the planet have reduced by approximately 60% since 1970. This is being talked about as the sixth mass extinction. The World Wildlife Fund is asking that we would begin to treat this matter in the same way as we do climate change by putting in place an agreement similar to the Paris Agreement in regard to animals and biodiversity.
The strategic growth of Dublin Airport has been phenomenal and it is a hugely important contributor to Ireland’s economy making approximately €6.9 billion according to a recent InterVISTAS study. It employs almost 16,000 people directly. The number of passengers using the airport reached 25 million in 2015 and in the first five months of 2016 these numbers increased by 14% in a year-on-year comparison. Mr. Kevin Toland, the CEO of DAA, whom I met at his briefing last week, stated that the development of the new north runway will support around 1,200 extra jobs and ultimately create another 30,000 jobs. While this further growth and economic impact of Dublin airport is strongly welcomed it is imperative we do not lose sight of the responsibilities of the Dublin Airport Authority to the residents and locality surrounding the airport which is impacted by noise pollution and pollution to the environment.
In a Topical Issues Debate in Dáil Éireann on the proposed new North Runway at Dublin Airport, Deputy Broughan called on the DAA not to be a noisy neighbour and to restrict night flights from the airport. Night flights are defined by the European Union as when an aircraft uses an airport between the hours of 11pm and 7am. There are hundreds of European airports such as Heathrow, Zurich and Frankfurt that have restrictions on night flights. Heathrow restricts flights between 11.30pm and 4.30am and furthermore limits the number of flights between 4.30am and 6am to 16 flights per night. Planning conditions on the new North Runway restrict night flights but the DAA are trying to have these conditions lifted.
Last year, in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Broughan spoke on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 and he ensured the representation of the concerns of various agencies such as the Stop Climate Chaos Group, An Taisce and other concerned constituents who were all in contact with the Deputy on this important topic.