Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (205)

Darren O'Rourke


205. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport the projects in County Meath considered for inclusion in the recent allocation of €63.5 million for greenways; the reasons these projects were not successful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37999/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I was delighted to recently announce details of the increased funding being made available next year to support greenways. The additional money is primarily directed toward increasing the rate of Exchequer funding support available for projects already approved. The increased support means that these projects will now be 100% funded by allocations from my Department, and it is provided in recognition of the difficulties caused by COVID-19 on local authority funding streams. The increased funding levels will ensure these already-approved projects are delivered as proposed.

The Deputy is likely aware that earlier in the Summer I also announced allocations being made available as part of the Carbon Tax Fund. Amongst those allocations Meath County Council was successful in relation to the Boyne Greenway and Boyne Navigation Restoration Scheme, which will be a 26.5km route from the Oldbrige Estate to Navan. The €750,000 allocated to the Council is designed to bring the scheme through the design and planning processes and once that work is complete I expect Meath County Council will be well-placed to submit an application under future funding calls to support actual construction.

I do expect further funding calls to be announced next year and Meath County Council, like other local authorities, will be able to submit applications in line with relevant eligibility criteria at the appropriate time. I understand that the Council previously applied in 2018 for funding in relation to a proposed Navan to Kingscourt Greenway, which was ultimately not successful at that time; however, it is open to the Council to consider the issue again for future funding calls. I think it important that local authorities consider the role that greenways can play in improving active travel options for local communities as well as their potential in the area of leisure and / or tourism focused walking and cycling, and I look forward to seeing that reflected in next year’s process.