Planning Issues

Questions (142)

Seán Fleming

Question:

142. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will set out, in tabular form, the number of prosecutions undertaken for unauthorised works on listed buildings over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29549/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Data in respect of enforcement action taken by local authorities, generally, are available on my Department’s website. However, the specific information sought is not available to my Department.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Status

Questions (143)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

143. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the projects that have been prioritised by Limerick County Council for investment by his Department for waste water treatment plants in County Limerick under the current water services investment programme; the schemes bundled together and the schemes that are prioritised on an individual basis; the schemes de-bundled as part of the prioritisation waste water; and the rationale for de-bundling. [29440/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas Library, provides for the development of a comprehensive range of new water services infrastructure in County Limerick. The Programme consists of contracts under construction and to commence to the value of some €29 million in the county, representing Limerick County Council’s priorities for the period of the programme.

In total there are eight sewerage schemes/contracts in County Limerick included in the Programme either to start construction during the lifetime of the Programme or advance through planning. Works are ongoing in respect of three of these contracts, namely:

- Kilmallock Sewerage Scheme – Wastewater Treatment Plant;

- Patrickswell Sewerage Scheme – Networks contract; and

- Mungret Sewerage Scheme – Networks contract.

The remaining schemes/contracts in the Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013, namely:

- Askeaton Sewerage Scheme – Wastewater Treatment Plant;

- Dromcollogher Sewerage Scheme – Wastewater Treatment Plant and Networks Contracts;

- Abbeyfeale Sewerage Scheme – Treatment Plant Upgrade;

- Castletroy Sewerage Scheme; and

- Newcastlewest Sewerage Scheme

are at different stages of planning. Each of these schemes/contracts are standalone projects and there are no bundled schemes included in the Programme for County Limerick.

Building Regulations Amendments

Questions (144)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

144. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the registration of architects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29469/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 613 and 640 of 11 June 2013, which sets out the position in this matter.

Local Government Fund

Questions (145)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

145. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount of funds that have been transferred from the Local Government Fund to the Central Fund in each year for the past five years, including the date of each transfer; the amount of money due to be similarly transferred in 2013 and the dates of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29505/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Revised Estimates for Public Services 2013 provide that an amount of up to €150m is to be paid from the Local Government Fund to the Exchequer in 2013.

€46.5m transferred to the Exchequer from the Local Government Fund in 2012 in two tranches; €23.5m on 20 September 2012 and €23m on 13 December 2012. 2012 was the first year in which a payment to the Exchequer was made from the Fund.

Dormant Accounts Fund Grants

Questions (146)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

146. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there is funding available in 2013 through the dormant account distribution scheme; if applications for funding are being accepted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29514/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Disbursement Plan of 2009, put in place by the former Dormant Accounts Board, will be replaced later this year by a new disbursement scheme in accordance with the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2012. My Department is consulting with relevant Government Departments and other stakeholders as appropriate in relation to the preparation of the new scheme; the scheme will be submitted to Government for approval and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The legislation also provides for the preparation of an action plan each year following the making of a scheme. The plan, which will also be subject to consultation, must indicate the programmes or types of projects that may apply for disbursement and the maximum funds available. Different amounts may be specified in the plan in relation to a particular class or classes of programme or project.  Once the plan is adopted, a copy must also be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

There are currently no measures open under the Dormant Accounts Fund. I have allocated €6.385m for Dormant Accounts Measures in 2013, which includes €2.835m to be used to support labour activation measures in Local Authorities and the remainder to meet existing commitments.

Housing Adaptation Grants Funding

Questions (147)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

147. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the virtual collapse of the home adaptation grants schemes, resulting in one case where an 88 year old who has fallen down stairs, resulting in hospitalisation, cannot get grant assistance for a stair lift and many other cases where older persons with poor mobility and urinary frequency conditions cannot get grant assistance with downstairs bathroom facilities; and in view of the extra funds available to his Department for stimulus measures, if he will provide extra funding to local authorities to fund urgent cases. [29516/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The requirement to reduce public expenditure to sustainable levels is impacting on capital programmes all across the public service, including my Department’s housing capital programme. The level of capital funding available has declined significantly in recent years along the lines highlighted in the Medium Term Exchequer Framework for Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016. As a result capital spending on housing programmes is subject to constraint over the short-term.

On 22 February 2013 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 strain 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 additional allocations totalling €1.2 million for 13 local authorities. Dublin City Council applied for additional funding from this reserve and was notified of a supplementary allocation of €118,063 , bringing the Council’s overall allocation for 2013 to €5,050,383. My Department is closely monitoring expenditure across all the measures under the housing programme. I will consider allocating further funds to the grants measure in the event of any saving arising elsewhere.

Planning Issues

Questions (148)

Clare Daly

Question:

148. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will organise an enquiry into a wind farm (details supplied) in County Wexford as a result of breaches of planning permission and a lack of enforcement by the planning authorities, which is causing serious injury to the amenity of local residents. [29528/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The enforcement of the conditions attached to a planning permission is a matter for the relevant planning authority and I have no role in that regard. Under section 30 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, I am specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned, including cases of planning enforcement.