Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (273)

Tom Neville

Question:

273. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a programme will be established to expand town and village wastewater treatment plants to facilitate housing expansion. [26985/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels.

In May 2018, the Government approved the Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025 and, shortly afterwards, Irish Water submitted its Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024 to my Department. The Strategic Funding Plan, which I have approved, details Irish Water’s multi-annual strategic funding requirement of €11bn to 2024, comprising of a €6.1bn investment in infrastructure and assets and €4.9bn in operating costs.

Irish Water will also play a key role in implementing Project Ireland 2040 which was published in February 2018 and incorporates the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan. Irish Water will take account of and support on-going work in developing subsidiary strategies to assist in implementing the NPF including the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies as well as ongoing reviews of County Development Plans and Local Area Plans.

I understand that Irish Water will be bringing forward proposals for a Small Towns & Villages Growth Programme which will support a number of the National Policy Objectives and National Strategic Outcomes under the NPF. The Small Towns & Villages Growth Programme is intended to provide water and wastewater growth capacity in smaller settlements which would not otherwise be provided for in its Investment Plan to 2024. Irish Water will work with local authorities across the country in ensuring the investment is made where it is needed most, aligned to core strategies.

Irish Water is subject to regulation by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). The proposals from Irish Water in this regard form part of the submissions from Irish Water to the CRU on its detailed investment plans under the Irish Water Investment Plan 2020 to 2024. These submissions are currently being considered and a decision is expected from the CRU in the second half of 2019. Subject to the outcome of this process it will then be a matter for Irish Water to progress its proposals in relation to the Small Towns & Villages Growth Programme.

Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.