Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (153)

Robert Troy

Question:

153. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will make funding available to the local authorities to upgrade council houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12047/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Under my Department’s Social Housing Investment Programme, local authorities are allocated funding each year in respect of a range of measures to improve the standard and overall quality of their social housing stock. The programme includes a retrofitting measure aimed at improving the energy efficiency of older apartments and houses by reducing heat loss through the fabric of the building. Over the past four years, the retrofitting measure focussed on improvement works to vacant houses with the objective of returning as many as possible of these dwellings to productive use and combating dereliction and associated anti-social behaviour. Over that period some € 99.9 million was recouped to local authorities in respect of improvements carried out to 7,762 dwellings.

This year I will be focusing investment on improving the quality and standard of the tenanted social rented units. This will be done through a range of measures including regeneration, estate-wide remedial works and energy retrofitting of older houses and apartments. I am bringing in a new measure which will specifically target older properties and involves the insulation of attics and walls, draught-proofing of windows and doors and the fitting of heating controls.

Last week I allocated €111.4 million for a programme of works ranging from large scale regeneration works to a retrofitting scheme aimed at improving the energy efficiency of these properties. My Department also provides capital funding to local authorities to assist with the provision of necessary adaptations and extensions to their properties to meet the needs of tenants with a disability.

A second focus this year will be to undertake an audit of the 130,000 social housing units in conjunction with the local authorities, in order to better understand the quality and distribution of the national social housing stock and to facilitate the future planning of sound and robust improvement works programmes. This will provide a comprehensive database to inform future targeted interventions aimed at further improving the stock.