Primary responsibility for improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads rests with Local Authorities. State grants, mainly originating from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, are provided to supplement contributions by local authorities from their own resources. Therefore, the funding of public roads is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
My Department does provide funding for the installation of central tyre inflation systems on timber lorries. The aim of this measure is to help reduce the risk of damage to roads and also wear and tear on the lorries themselves.
My Department is working closely with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with regard to an amendment to the Planning and Development Amendment Act 2018, providing for this Department to be the sole consenting authority for forest roads, where a new entrance onto a public road is to be opened or there is material widening of an existing entrance. Currently, in such situations, planning permission is required from the local authority. The required legislation, making my Department the consenting authority, will be in place within a matter of weeks.
It is worth noting that local authorities still retain sole responsibility for granting permission to entrances from forest roads opening onto national roads and that they will be consulted on applications involving non-national public roads received by my Department.