Written Answers. - National Spatial Strategy.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

279 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the regional growth centres proposed as part of the spatial strategy to encourage growth in regional centres as a counterbalance to the growth of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14356/02]

John Bruton

Question:

282 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government when he will publish the national spatial strategy. [15297/02]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 and 282 together.

In accordance with An Agreed Programme for Government, my Department is now working towards the finalisation of the national spatial strategy.

The public consultation paper on the National Spatial Strategy, Indications for the Way Ahead, was published last autumn to assist in refining the approach and in the development of the detailed policies to be included in it. More than 250 written submissions were received from a wide range of national, regional and local bodies, public representatives and individuals. Most of the submissions received were broadly supportive of the overall approach to achieving more balanced regional development set out in the consultation paper, but many detailed issues and some reservations were raised.

Since the conclusion of the consultations, work has continued on the drafting of the strategy, which must address the spatial aspects of a wide range of economic, social and environmental policies. Work is continuing to ensure that the strategy will help to realise the potential of all regions to fully participate in a more balanced way in the country's continuing economic and social development. The issue of regional growth centres as a counter-balance to the growth of Dublin will be addressed in the context of the completed strategy.

Question No. 280 answered with Question No. 271.