Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (410)

Brendan Howlin


522 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide the names of all local authorities that have complied with the requirement that county council's when preparing county plans consult with the Department of Education and Science to establish the educational needs under the Planning and Development Act 2000, by 31 December 2003; the action his Department has taken to ensure that all local authorities comply with the requirement; the action his Department has taken to ensure that all county plans provide adequate space for school buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1958/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I am among the prescribed authorities to whom local authorities are statutorily obliged to send draft development plans or proposed variations to development plans. Since these plans tend to be routinely submitted to my Department from local authorities, detailed records of compliance in this matter are not maintained.

A formal structure exists whereby officials of my Department's school planning section regularly meet with officials of the Dublin local authorities to discuss development proposals and consequent site requirements for new schools. The formal structured approach to engaging with local authorities is being extended in the current year to include a number of key local authorities whose areas are experiencing substantial demographic change. This proposed structured approach will co-exist alongside the historic if more informal approach that has always existed, whereby officials of school planning section keep in regular contact, as necessary, with local authorities concerning development proposals and their implications for school provision.