Housing Estates

Questions (290)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

290. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 1198 of 6 November 2018, the further progress he has made to date regarding the taking in charge of developments with stand-alone treatment plants; the discussions he has had with Irish Water on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14426/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Residential developments consisting of two or more dwellings that have been granted planning permission under section 34 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) may be eligible (depending on the grant of planning condition) for taking in charge. The taking in charge of residential estates by local authorities is provided for under section 180 of the 2000 Act and is a reserved function of the elected members.

Under Section 180 (1) of the Act, the planning authority is obliged to initiate taking in charge procedures where requested by either the developer or by the majority of owners of the dwellings. However, this is subject to the development being completed to the satisfaction of the authority and in accordance with the permission and any conditions.

My Department launched the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative (NTICI) in April 2016 to trial new approaches and working methods in supporting and accelerating overall national and local action on the taking-in-charge process of housing estates, including estates with developer-provided water services infrastructure which can include stand-alone treatment plants. Under the terms of the NTICI, which was underpinned by €10 million in funding, developments subject to valid taking-in-charge applications were eligible for inclusion in the associated call for funding proposals. Ultimately, €7.5 million of the allocated funding was paid to local authorities in respect of 330 developments, containing some 14,930 homes.

Findings and recommendations from the NTICI process were included in a report on the initiative that was published by my Department in December 2018. The report is available at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/national_taking_in_charge_initiative_report_dec2018.pdf.

The publication of the NTICI report is of value to local authorities and other stakeholders in applying the lessons from the pilot authorities, in a more general roll-out of a streamlined approach to taking-in-charge, including through coordination with capital works by Irish Water. In this regard, my Department is liaising with Irish Water in relation to the report.

Ultimately, however, progression of individual developments through the taking-in-charge process is a matter for the relevant housing developer, the residents in such developments and the relevant local authorities, following the procedures laid out in section 180.

The National Development Plan, published last year, includes provision of €31 million for the period 2018-2021 for developer-provided infrastructure, commencing with an estimates provision of €6 million in 2019. The multi-annual programme will be initiated through the invitation of project bids from local authorities followed by their evaluation by an Expert Panel, set up by my Department, to independently evaluate the bid projects and make recommendations to my Department on suitable projects to be approved for funding. It is expected that approval of projects for this first cycle multi-annual programme will take place in Q2 2019.

Energy Efficiency

Questions (291)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

291. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of council properties in each category of BER rating; and the estimated cost to bring each of the categories of property up to a BER A rating in tabular form. [14432/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is the statutory agency responsible for the implementation and management of the Building Energy Rating (BER) Scheme, in accordance with Ireland’s obligations under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. These regulations require every new building to have a BER Certificate since 1 January 2007. In addition, any existing dwelling, offered for sale or letting on or after 1 January 2009, also requires a BER certificate.

Information and statistics in relation to the administration of the BER scheme are available on the SEAI website at www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Domestic-BER-Statistics.pdf.

The SEAI also provide BER statistics to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) which, in turn, publishes comprehensive quarterly bulletins which provide a detailed breakdown of BER ratings. This information is available on the CSO website at www.cso.ie/en/statistics/environmentstatistics/domesticbuildingenergyratings/.

My Department does not collate data on BER statistics or collect BER data in relation to social housing homes. However all new dwellings, including social housing, must comply with building regulations. Current regulations require a typical dwelling to have a BER of A3 and 98% of all new dwellings are, indeed, built to this standard.

The Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) performance for new dwellings represents an improvement in energy and carbon dioxide emissions performance of 70% over 2005 standards and requires renewables on all new dwellings. This is typically equivalent to a Building Energy Rating (BER) of A2. The draft regulations and accompanying technical guidance to implement this have completed public consultation and the regulations are expected to be signed into law shortly. These regulations will also require that where Major Renovations take place which are greater than 25% of the surface area of the dwelling, the dwelling should achieve a cost optimal performance where feasible. This is equivalent to a B2 building energy rating for a typical dwelling.

Local authorities are currently undertaking an ambitious programme of insulation retrofitting, with the support of my Department, on the least energy efficient social housing homes. Funding of some €128.7 million has been provided from 2013 to end-2018 to improve energy efficiency and comfort levels in over 68,000 local authority homes, benefitting those at risk of fuel poverty and making a significant contribution to Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction targets and energy reduction targets for 2020.

The insulation retrofitting programme is being implemented in a number of phases. Phase 1 commenced in 2013 and focused on providing attic/roof insulation and the less intrusive cavity wall insulation in all relevant properties. Phase 2 of the retrofitting programme focuses on the external fabric upgrade of those social housing homes with solid/hollow block wall construction.

The budget allocation for social housing energy efficiency works in 2019 is €25 million. My Department is currently working with the local authorities regarding their work proposals and related funding requirements for 2019, following which allocations will be made. The number of social homes to be targeted in 2019, and for subsequent years, will depend on the work proposals and priorities submitted from the local authorities, and the available funding.

Planning Data

Questions (292)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

292. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications for fast-track housing development made under the legislation introduced in the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, by county; the number of developments that went to build after securing planning permission; the number of development sites that were sold on the market after securing planning permission and before going on to build; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14435/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 introduced new temporary streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHD) - i.e. developments of 100 housing units or more or student accommodation or shared accommodation developments of 200 bed spaces or more - to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for determination instead of having to be submitted in the first instance to the local planning authority with the possibility of subsequent appeal to the Board. These arrangements came into operation on 3 July 2017.

The primary purpose of the SHD arrangements is to speed up the planning decision-making process, thereby providing greater planning certainty for developers in terms of the timelines within which proposals for such developments can be determined, while simultaneously fully respecting the statutory requirements for public consultation in respect of such proposals.

The Board had received 65 SHD applications since the new arrangements came into operation up until 28 February 2019. A breakdown of applications by county area is as follows:

County

Total Applications

Local Authority Breakdown

Total Applications

Cork

10

Cork City Council

4

Cork County Council

6

Dublin

33

Dublin City Council

11

DLR County Council

15

Fingal County Council

2

South Dublin County Council

5

Galway

5

Galway City Council

1

Galway County Council

4

Kildare

11

Kildare County Council

11

Louth

1

Louth County Council

1

Meath

2

Meath County Council

2

Waterford

1

Waterford City and County Council

1

Wexford

1

Wexford County Council

1

Wicklow

1

Wicklow County Council

1

Total

65

Total

65

The Board has issued decisions in respect of 43 of the 65 cases to date, all within the statutory time period of 16 weeks of receipt of a planning application, 29 of which were granted permission. The remaining 22 applications are being dealt with in accordance with the legislative requirements and timeframes, and decisions will issue during the coming weeks and months.

The information requested in relation to the sale of individual developments prior to the commencement of works on the SHD sites in question is not generally available in my Department. However, of the applications that were granted permission, it is understood that commencement notices have been lodged in respect of 13 of these projects to date.