366. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the recurring weekly meetings attended by either him or the Secretary General of his Department in 2019 at which climate change and-or preparations within his Department to enact a climate plan has been an agenda item; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31345/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, responsibility for Climate Action rests with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment who have published the Climate Action Plan 2019. This Plan sets out an ambitious course of action over the coming years to address this issue.
Action 149 of the plan, which relates to deployment of electric vehicles in the public sector, includes a task for An Garda Síochána to assess the suitability of electric/hybrid vehicles as Ministerial vehicles. I can confirm that the feasibility of the use of hybrid or electric vehicles is already under consideration within An Garda Síochána. Garda management has confirmed to me that 2 electric vehicles were purchased in 2018, in order to evaluate the potential and limitations of electric vehicles in Garda operational environments on a pilot basis. This pilot is ongoing.
In addition I can advise the Deputy that my Department is very active on climate action generally within the scope of its own administrative remit. An Energy Performance Forum has been established. It is chaired by the Energy Performance Officer (Assistant Secretary) with representation from across the Justice and Equality sector. On the 9 January, the EPO wrote to the bodies operating under my Department's aegis, advising them of the Government Decision of 3 January to cease purchase , directly or indirectly, of certain single-use plastics, namely beverage cups, cutlery and drinking straws. The purchase of new stocks of those items was ceased immediately. In addition, bodies were asked to provide details, by the end of November 2019, on the measures being taken to minimise waste generation and to maximise recycling.
My Department also recently launched a Green Team, which will be working to raise awareness among staff on environmental and sustainability issues generally, including the need to minimise waste and energy use and to maximise recycling.
Furthermore my Department has developed a Resource Efficiency Action Plan in consultation with staff of the Department of Communication, Climate Action and the Environment. This sets out the measures being taken to reduce waste generation and to maximise recycling. It benchmarks energy, water and waste figures for 2018 for the Department's Headquarters and sets out plans for reducing energy use and waste generation across the whole Department.