Written Answers. - Road Network.

Seamus Kirk

Question:

98 Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will consider the establishment of a clear and specific programme for the maintenance and upkeep of category III rural roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15386/01]

I am satisfied the existing range and level of non-national road grants, which are designed to supplement local authorities' own resources, provide appropriately for the ongoing needs of the non-national road network. State funding for non-national roads in 2001 is £323 million, which represents an 85% increase on the 1997 funding provision of £174.8 million.

The restoration programme which has been in place since 1995 aims to restore all local and regional roads, which were deficient in 1995, by the end of 2005. This programme is undertaken on foot of multi-annual restoration programmes submitted by county councils. County councils have understandably accorded priority in the early years of the programme to regional roads and the more heavily trafficked local roads. In recognition, however, of the need for class III local roads to receive meaningful attention in the meantime, I have made a special allocation of £5 million in 1999 and again in 2000 to county councils for use on class III local roads only.

Discretionary maintenance and restoration maintenance grants have also increased considerably in recent years. The discretionary maintenance grant has increased from £9.612 million in 1997 to £17.87 million in 2001, which is an increase of 86%. The increase in 2001 compared to 2000 was 30%. The restoration maintenance grant has increased from £23 million in 1997 to £36.74 million in 2001, which is an increase of 59%.

Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 41.