Housing Adaptation Grant Application Numbers

Question No. 160 answered with Question No. 150

Questions (159)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

159. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the extent to which the various local authorities have received adequate provision to meet the disabled persons housing adaptation grant requirements in 2013; the numbers awaiting approval throughout the various local authorities countrywide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20939/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department’s involvement with the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability relates primarily to the recoupment of a proportion of local authority expenditure on the payment of individual grants. These schemes, introduced in November 2007, are funded by 80% recoupments available from my Department together with a 20% contribution from the resources of the local authority.

On 22 February I announced capital allocations to local authorities under the suite of Grants for Older People and People with a Disability amounting to €42.750 million. In allocating the available funding across all 34 city and county councils I did so in as transparent and as fair a way as possible. In framing the 2013 allocations, my Department wrote to each local authority requesting details of the numbers and value of grants where work had been approved to commence. Between them, local authorities reported contractual commitments in respect of approved grants totalling €18 million. This year I allocated local authorities the full amount of their contractual commitments. The balance of the available funding was allocated on the basis of each authority’s share of the new applications on hand in January 2013.

In order to deal with any acute or particular difficulty which might arise in the operation of the schemes over the course of the year I have set aside a small capital reserve. I recently approved supplementary funding of €1.2 million to 13 local authorities from this reserve. I will consider requests for further supplementary allocations later in the year. Based on information submitted by local authorities to my Department in January 2013, details of the numbers of applications received but still awaiting approval at that time, broken down by scheme, are set out in the following table:

Local Authority

Housing Adaptation Grants

Housing Aid for Older People

Mobility Aids Grants

Total

Carlow County Council

47

137

42

226

Cavan County Council

36

93

31

160

Clare County Council

122

461

150

733

Cork County Council

64

673

137

874

Donegal County Council

112

26

36

174

Dun Laogh/ Rath Co Council

67

2

0

69

Fingal County Council

112

160

13

285

Galway County Council

13

186

16

215

Kerry County Council

84

126

99

309

Kildare County Council

74

284

13

371

Kilkenny County Council

111

169

86

366

Laois County Council

12

78

13

103

Leitrim County Council

1

1

0

2

Limerick County Council

46

280

36

362

Longford County Council

6

30

10

46

Louth County Council

130

150

10

290

Mayo County Council

25

209

89

323

Meath County Council

39

1

1

41

Monaghan County Council

50

75

55

180

North Tipp County Council

17

142

4

163

Offaly County Council

117

159

11

287

Roscommon County Council

75

131

4

210

Sligo County Council

8

5

3

16

South Dublin County Council

72

10

20

102

South Tipp County Council

104

148

38

290

Waterford County Council

18

81

25

124

Westmeath County Council

54

73

18

145

Wexford County Council

29

505

103

637

Wicklow County Council

20

68

50

138

Cork City Council

142

197

19

358

Dublin City Council

454

47

28

529

Galway City Council

15

32

6

53

Limerick City Council

94

266

95

455

Waterford City Council

15

11

30

56

TOTALS

2385

5016

1291

8692

Question No. 160 answered with Question No. 150.

Waste Management Issues

Questions (161)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

161. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will introduce legislation which would cap the fees charged by waste management companies to domestic users, which have increased repeatedly since privatisation by the local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20943/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Matters relating to the transfer of waste collection services by local authorities to private operators are in the first instance for the local authorities concerned.

My Department’s role is to provide a comprehensive legislative and waste policy framework through which the relevant regulatory bodies, such as local authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency, operate. In this regard, I published A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland in July 2012, setting out a range of measures which will significantly revise the current regulatory regime to ensure, inter alia, that waste collected is managed in accordance with the waste hierarchy, that mandated service levels are delivered and that Customer Charters are put in place by all waste collection providers. Customer Charters will be required to clearly set out information for customers including charging structures, procedures for dealing with arrears and arrangements for switching from one waste collector to another. Following the publication of the new waste policy, I  wrote to the waste management industry in September and October, 2012 in relation to the development of such charters and I understand that a number of waste collection providers have already put in place a Customer Charter ahead of the development of the new regulatory regime. It is my intention that the improved regulatory regime will deliver both enhanced environmental performance and ensure a quality service for consumers.

Notwithstanding the above measures, the Competition Authority currently maintains an on-going oversight of household waste collection markets. The next formal review of the household waste collection market, including a report by the Competition Authority, will be carried out in 2016, as part of the proposed overall mid-term review of the implementation of the waste policy. In addition, the National Consumer Agency has engaged with the waste industry in relation to consumer issues such as the terms and conditions contained in contracts , the refund of credit balances and cancellation fees.

Water Quality Issues

Questions (162, 163, 164)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

162. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if Donegal County Council is the competent body for designation of the bathing waters in Lough Foyle at Carnagarve, Moville, County Donegal, under the EU bathing Water Directive. [20971/13]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

163. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of public requests for designation of bathing waters that were received in 2012 for 2013 designation and in which counties. [20972/13]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

164. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will set out the decision making process on bathing water designation; if a central register is maintained which shows public input; and if there is an appeal process. [20973/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 to 164, inclusive, together.

The identification of bathing waters is a matter for local authorities under the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 which transposed the EU Bathing Water Directive 2006 into Irish law. Regulation 4 of the regulations places a requirement on local authorities, on or before 24 March each year, to identify bathing waters in relation to the bathing season in that year and to notify the EPA of the bathing waters so identified and the reason for any change compared to the previous year. Donegal County Council therefore, is the competent authority for the identification of bathing waters in Lough Foyle.

My Department does not compile or keep statistics in relation to public requests for identification of bathing waters. However, the overall number of identified bathing water sites has increased from 131 in 2008 to 136 in 2012. The additional bathing waters are in the Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Fingal local authority areas. The 2008 Regulations require, inter alia, that bathing waters to be identified are to be all elements of surface waters where the local authorities expect a large number of people to bathe. The term ‘large number’ is not defined by the Directive. In 2010 my Department issued guidance to local authorities on the identification of bathing waters, and advised them to use their own discretion in deciding a threshold for a ‘large number’ of bathers. The guidance notes that this number will vary due to numerous factors, including proximity to urban areas, ease of access by road, scenic amenity, tradition of bathing at the site and proximity to recreational / tourism amenities.

Local authorities are required to ensure that appropriate measures have been taken in relation to encouraging public participation in the process of establishment, review and updating of bathing waters.

Departmental Schemes

Questions (165)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

165. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there is any scheme in place in his Department for former council tenants or those on low incomes to avail of financial assistance to carry out essential home repairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20975/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In the case of privately owned properties, grants are available under my Department’s Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People With a Disability to assist households to have necessary repairs, adaptations or improvement works carried out in order to meet the accommodation needs of an older person or a person with a disability. The suite of grants include three separate grant measures; the Mobility Aids Grant scheme with grants of up to €6,000, the Housing Aid for Older People scheme with grants of up to €10,500 and the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability with grants of up to €30,000, depending on household income. Exchequer allocations for 2013 totalling some €42.750 million were notified to local authorities in February 2013 in respect of these schemes which are ad ministered by the local authorities. Outside of these grant schemes, there are no other grants available from my Department in respect of repairs to privately owned properties.

Housing Inspections

Questions (166)

Alan Farrell

Question:

166. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will be carrying out reviews under the intensified inspection programme on rental properties in Fingal, County Dublin; the areas that will be inspected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21036/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008, made under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. These regulations were further amended by the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 which expanded the definition of ‘a proper state of structural repair’ to allow for all aspects of the internal and external appearance of a dwelling to be taken into account for the purposes of the regulations. All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with the regulations. Responsibility for enforcing the regulations rests with the relevant local authority, supported by a dedicated stream of funding allocated by my Department.

It is a matter for each individual local authority to decide the specific details of its enforcement strategy and inspection arrangements. In discharging their responsibilities in relation to the rental sector authorities have been asked to have regard to the Good Practice Guidelines for Local Authorities on Standards in the Private Rented Sector: Strategic Planning, Effective Enforcement, published by the Centre for Housing Research in November 2007, which made a range of recommendations on relevant issues, including targeting inspection activities.

My Department has allocated more than €25 million since 2004 to housing authorities for the purpose of carrying out their functions under the Housing Acts in relation to rented accommodation. Additional funding was provided in 2010 for once-off strategically-planned programmes of inspection known as “Intensified Inspection Projects”.  Funding for Intensified Inspection Projects was awarded where housing authorities agreed to undertake additional, targeted inspection activity, over and above what they would conduct as part of their usual inspection programme. Fingal County Council did not submit a funding application for an Intensified Inspection Project and therefore did not receive additional funding in this regard. My Department, by means of on-site visits, examines a sample of local authorities’ inspections procedures each year, with particular reference to the Intensified Inspection Programme, to verify that value for money is being achieved. Fingal County Council has not yet been examined as part of this process.

In general, local authorities have significantly expanded their inspection activity in recent years with the number of inspections almost trebling – from 6,815 to 19,616 - in the period 2005 to 2012. Details of the inspections of private rented accommodation carried out on a county/city basis are available on my Department’s website at www.environ.ie.

Environmental Management Costs Issues

Questions (167)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

167. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide, in tabular form, the waste electrical and electronic equipment charge associated with the following items for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, mobile phone, answering machine, fax machine, television, DVD player, satellite dish, hair dryer, games console, personal computer, MP3 player, microwave oven, dishwasher, fridge and or freezer, oven and or cooker; in the event that there is more than one possible WEEE charge associated with an item, if he will provide all possible charges for the item in question as well as the number of each item sold in the item sub-category in the stated years in order that an average WEEE charge for each item may be ascertained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21038/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I assume that the question refers to the Environmental Management Costs (EMCs) that consumers have paid to producers when purchasing certain electrical items since the introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations in Ireland; these EMCs were discontinued finally in February 2013. This system of EMCs was put in place to provide funds for the recovery and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) that was placed on the market prior to the introduction of the WEEE Regulations. The recovery and recycling of EEE that was placed on the market after that time (August 2005) must be funded by producers as part of their normal business costs.

The level of EMCs for each category of electrical items was set by the independent WEEE Register Society; I do not have a function in that regard. I understand that some of the factors that the WEEE Register Society took into account when setting the EMCs were the costs of recovery and recycling and the levels of financial reserves which the approved WEEE schemes (WEEE Ireland and ERP Ireland) had in place to discharge the costs associated with managing this historical WEEE; EMCs have been reduced year on year since 2005.

The Visible Environmental Management Costs associated with the electrical and electronic equipment specified for the period 2009-2012 are available from the WEEE Register Society, which may be contacted by post at WEEE Register Society Ltd, The National Registration Body, Suite 509, 8 Dawson Street, Dublin 2; by telephone at 01 6333551 or by email at info@weeeregister.ie. The WEEE Register Society category listings outline the 10 categories covered by the First Schedule of the European Communities (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations 2011. The Society further provides a breakdown of all electrical and electronic equipment into sub-categories.

My Department does not collate data on the sales of specific pieces of electrical and electronic equipment; this information may however be available from the WEEE Register Society, subject to normal commercial confidentiality and data protection requirements.