Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (321, 322)

Pat Breen

Question:

405 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when the allocation for local improvement schemes for 2004 will be made available to local authorities; the amount of moneys that will be available for 2004; the amount of moneys that will be allocated to Clare County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6580/04]

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Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

416 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason for the amendment of the criteria of the local improvement scheme; when these criteria were changed; if the scheme has been abolished completely; if so, if it will be replaced or re-established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6861/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 405 and 416 together.

In 2004 a sum of €12.1 million will be provided for the local improvements scheme. I will announce the allocations to county councils shortly.

Section 81 of the Local Government Act 2001 provides the statutory basis for the scheme. The Department's local improvements scheme memorandum was issued in February 2002. It sets out the current terms and conditions for the payment of such grants. County councils receive grants to construct and improve non-public roads that provide access to parcels of land where at least two are owned or occupied by different persons engaged in separate agricultural activities, or provide access for harvesting purposes for two or more persons, or that will, in the opinion of a county council, be used by the public.

My Department's circular RW 10/2003 of 4 March 2003 clarified that roads serving only houses or buildings occupied or used by persons not engaged in agriculture, including holiday homes, should not be considered eligible for funding under the scheme other than in special circumstances involving hardship, or elderly or disabled occupants. There has been no change in the terms and conditions of the scheme since then.