I propose to take Questions Nos. 350 and 352 together.
Responsibility for the administration of the Rural Water Programme, which includes group sewerage schemes, has been devolved to local authorities since 1997. In December 2012, I announced an increase in the grant for group sewerage schemes to €6,500 per house or 75% of the cost of the scheme, whichever is the lesser. The previous rate of grant available was €2,031.58 per house or 75% of the cost, whichever was the lesser.
I proposed, in the first instance, to carry out a number of pilot schemes based on the increased grant level. My Department asked local authorities to include in their requests for funding under the 2013 Rural Water Programme proposals for pilot group sewerage schemes which might be viable based on the increased grant. Following an examination of the proposals received, with particular regard to the environmental justification provided and the estimated costs, I approved grant assistance towards pilot schemes in nine different counties in 2013.
A review of progress on the selected pilot schemes will be completed as soon as possible with a view to deciding how best to proceed with the grant scheme.