Vacant Sites Data

Question No. 79 answered with Question No. 40.

Ceisteanna (78)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

78. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of the 31 local authorities that have set up a vacant site register; the number that have not; the number that have and the register remains empty; his views on the fact that certain local authorities are ignoring the provisions of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015; the steps he is taking to force local authorities to comply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26824/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced a new measure, the vacant site levy, which is aimed at incentivising the development of vacant, under-utilised sites in urban areas.  Under the Act, planning authorities are required to establish a register of vacant sites in their areas, beginning on 1 January 2017.  Planning authorities have issued notices to owners of vacant sites by 1 June this year in respect of vacant sites included on their respective registers on 1 January 2018, indicating that the levy will apply to those sites on 1 January 2019. 

While all 31 local authorities have established vacant site registers, not all registers have been populated to date as local authorities are undertaking the necessary preparatory work in this regard, i.e. identifying qualifying vacant sites, their registered owners and commissioning the market valuations of such sites.

My Department does not maintain a central register of vacant sites as each local authority administers the vacant site register in respect of their functional area. However, on foot of a recent review of the on-line vacant site registers across all local authority areas, I understand that 14 authorities have populated their vacant site registers to date, of which 11 had sites on their registers in 2017 and before 1 January 2018, with three other authorities populating their registers during January 2018.  

My Department has actively engaged with local authorities in relation to the implementation of the vacant site levy in order to ensure a consistent application of the levy provisions across all city and county areas and to facilitate the sharing of best practice. My Department has provided guidance and advice and also organised three separate information seminars for local authorities, most recently on 1 May 2018, which was attended by officials from every local authority.

My Department will continue to monitor implementation of the levy to ensure that it is being fully used, in line with its intended purpose of incentivising the development of vacant or under-utilised sites in urban areas.

Question No. 79 answered with Question No. 40.

National Economic and Social Council

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 61.

Ceisteanna (80, 89, 220, 221)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

80. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the Urban Development Land, Housing and Infrastructure: Fixing Ireland’s Broken System report recently published by the National Economic and Social Council, NESC. [22696/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

89. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the most recent National Economic and Social Council, NESC, report, particularly its comments on State owned lands being available for housing. [22610/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

220. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he has had engagement with the National Economic and Social Council since the publication of its report Urban Development Land, Housing and Infrastructure: Fixing Ireland’s Broken System. [22710/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

221. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the recently published NESC report entitled Urban Development Land, Housing and Infrastructure: Fixing Ireland's Broken System. [25389/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80, 89, 220 and 221 together.

I very much welcome the National Economic and Social Council's (NESC) report, Urban Development Land, Housing and Infrastructure: Fixing Ireland's Broken System, published last month and I commend NESC on their contribution to evidence-based policy-making in publishing this excellent report.

In developing this report, NESC consulted with my Department on both current and planned policy measures in relation to active land management and there will be continued engagement with regard to the issues and recommendations raised therein. In addition, as the report was brought to the attention of all my Cabinet colleagues, its publication and findings are very timely, given the whole-of-Government focus on achieving a more effective, strategic approach to land management for residential and infrastructural development.   

The report is very much consistent with the Government's approach to housing supply and land management, and in particular the Council's emphasis on the importance of not returning to the speculative and unstable system of home building that we have previously witnessed in this country. Moreover, the report addresses a number of challenges identified in the Government’s long-term spatial strategy, Project Ireland 2040, including the provision of more affordable homes to buy or rent for a growing proportion of the population and a sustained increase in the level of investment in public infrastructure.

NESC also points out that public institutions need a strong developmental mandate, political authorisation, and executive capacity to drive housing supply and sustainable urban development, and endorses the NPF commitment to establish new National Regeneration and Development Agency as a positive step in this direction.  It is envisaged that the Agency will act as a national centre of expertise, working with and supporting local authorities, public bodies and other interests, to harness public lands as catalysts to stimulate regeneration and wider investment and to achieve compact, sustainable growth, with a particular emphasis on complex regeneration projects. The Government is currently working on finalising arrangements for the establishment of the Agency.

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 61.

Emergency Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (82)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

82. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the availability of emergency accommodation, in particular the emergency accommodation that can cater for larger families that are increasingly not accepted by hotels and bed and breakfasts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26889/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and associated services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities.  The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational issue in the day-to-day delivery of services and is a matter for the relevant housing authority.

Emergency Accommodation Provision

Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 39.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 40.

Ceisteanna (83)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

83. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the quality standards and inspection regime for all emergency accommodation. [26816/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. This includes operational issues such as ensuring that contracted services are delivered in a professional manner, that inspections take place and that homeless families/individuals can report issues to the relevant authority. 

In this regard, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has been overseeing the development of a quality standards framework, coordinating this work in consultation with an advisory group, which includes representation from various housing authorities, service providers, Tusla, clients and other stakeholders, with a view to having the finalised standards adopted on a national basis by individual housing authorities. The draft standards have been piloted in a number of selected services across the country and positive feedback has been received.

My Department has had recent discussions on this subject with the DRHE and I understand that the DRHE is preparing a final draft quality standards framework for formal submission to my Department.  On receipt of this, along with any recommendations with regard to implementation from the DRHE and the advisory group, I will give consideration to how such standards could be applied on a national basis by housing authorities.

Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 39.
Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 40.

Local Authority Housing Data

Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 40.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 37.

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 80.

Ceisteanna (86, 93)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

86. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of properties brought back into use under the repair and leasing scheme and the buy and renew scheme of pillar 5 of Rebuilding Ireland in each of the local authority areas by the most recent returns available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26827/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

93. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the anticipated number of repair and lease scheme units due to be operational in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26728/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 93 together.

The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) and the Buy and Renew Scheme have been developed to assist local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to harness the accommodation potential that exists in certain vacant dwellings across Ireland.

The RLS is targeted at owners of vacant dwellings, who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their dwellings up to the required standard for rental property. Subject to the suitability of the dwelling for social housing, and the agreement of the property owner, the cost of the necessary repairs will be met upfront by the local authority or an AHB.

At the end of 2017, a total of 820 applications had been received under the scheme. Local authorities were engaging with the property owners in relation to 573 properties, 31 agreements for lease had been signed and 9 homes had been delivered and tenanted. A detailed breakdown of the RLS scheme data up to end Q4 2017 is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

It is clear from the end 2017 output that RLS has not yet delivered the level of new social housing homes envisaged. I have reviewed the operation of the scheme, as part of the review of Rebuilding Ireland, and I have concluded that the scheme has significant potential but there are areas where it can be improved to make it more attractive and effective. At the second Housing Summit held on 22 January 2018, I announced a number of key changes to the scheme which took effect from 1 February 2018. These include:

- a reduction in the minimum lease term required from 10 to 5 years;

- an increase in the proportion of market rent available to property owners where they take on more responsibilities under the tenancy, meaning that up to 92% of market rent will be available; and provision of additional funding for property owners, over and above the current €40,000 limit, where the dwelling is a bedsit type dwelling being brought into compliance with the Standards for Rented Houses Regulations and made available for social housing.

I am making €32 million available for the scheme in 2018 and I expect local authorities and AHBs to continue to implement the scheme locally.

Over the period 2016 to 2021, the national target is for the delivery of an additional 50,000 social housing homes through Build, Acquisition and Leasing Schemes. The ambition is for 33,500 of these homes to be delivered through new build programmes including Part V; for 6,500 to be delivered through Acquisition programmes including the Housing Agency Acquisition Programme; and for the remaining 10,000 homes to be delivered under a range of leasing initiatives including the RLS. Out of the total 10,000 homes to be delivered under Leasing, it is expected that 2,000 will be leased by local authorities in 2018 under a range of leasing initiatives, including the Repair and Leasing Scheme, long term leasing and the new Enhanced Lease.

I wrote to all Local Authorities on 18 April 2018 setting out their social housing delivery targets for build, acquisition and leasing for 2018, and for the period 2018-2021. The targets are published at the following link:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-delivery-targets-for-local-authorities-2018-2021/.

The RLS data for end Q1 2018 are currently being collated and will be published shortly.

In the case of the Buy and Renew Scheme, funding is made available by my Department to facilitate local authorities in acquiring and remediating vacant properties that may be suitable for social housing.

As with standard acquisitions, local authorities have delegated responsibility to utilise the Buy and Renew Scheme, as part of the blend of property acquisitions, as appropriate to their area, given housing need and the availability of properties of different types. To date, my Department has supported the purchase and remediation of over 90 such homes under the scheme, details of which are set out in the following table.

Local Authority

Number of homes

Clare County Council

1

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council

12

Fingal County Council

11

Kerry County Council

14

Kildare County Council

2

Limerick City & County Council

16

Meath County Council

14

Monaghan County Council

16

Offaly County Council

1

Tipperary County Council

1

Waterford City & County Council

6

TOTAL

94

Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 40.
Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 37.
Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 80.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (90)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

90. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the waste water deficiencies in County Wexford; the number of locations in which untreated raw sewage is discharged in the county; if he is satisfied that Irish Water is doing everything possible in regard to this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26821/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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.  This delivery is set in the context of overall Government policy in relation to water services as outlined in the recently published Water Services Policy Statement, which includes the focussing of the programme to meet relevant public health and environmental standards as a priority for strategic investment planning.

The EPA's latest Urban Waste Water Treatment Report identifies the following areas in Wexford as discharging untreated sewage:

- Arthurstown

- Ballyhack

- Duncannon

- Kilmore Quay

Irish Water is prioritising investment and works on a country-wide basis to address the worst of our waste water deficiencies. Their programme of work includes projects in Wexford.

Information on the progression of projects to address these issue is available from Irish Water, which 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.

Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund

Ceisteanna (91)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

91. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason all bids for local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, building must demonstrate high levels of affordability (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26887/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund was designed to activate housing supply by putting in place enabling public infrastructure to facilitate large-scale development on key sites.

I have given final approval for 30 projects under the fund and these will stimulate development of approximately 20,000 housing units across 14 local authorities in areas of high housing need by 2021. This will not only mean a significant increase in supply of housing to the market but also increase the supply of social housing under Part V. In addition, 13 of the projects will support the development of housing on State-owned sites which will provide additional social and affordable housing.

Under Pillar 3 of the Rebuilding Ireland plan, LIHAF is designed to specifically address the issue of housing supply and that increase in supply is an important factor in terms of moderating house prices. In addition, the infrastructure being built is all public infrastructure for public use and the new roads, bridges and parks that are being built will bring benefits to the wider communities in those areas. I have also sought to leverage the State’s investment in public infrastructure under LIHAF to achieve a dividend in terms of making the housing on the associated sites more affordable than it would otherwise have been.

The target referred to by the Deputy was part of the original circular letter which issued in August 2016 with the call for proposals.  However, this was subsequently amended in September 2016 to allow for project-specific cost reductions and affordability schemes. The clarification recognised that the original blanket requirement was quite narrow and did not allow for appropriate calibration against the level of investment in infrastructure and therefore could negatively affect the viability of housing projects, particularly in Dublin where the supply issue is most urgent.

Local authorities were required to secure local agreements with developers and landowners in advance of finalising grant agreements with my Department.  These local agreements set out commitments from developers and landowners with regard to housing delivery and an appropriate cost reduction on housing.  Summary details of these commitments were published on the Rebuilding Ireland website in March 2018 and are available to view, together with the circular and clarification, at the following link:  http://rebuildingireland.ie/lihaf/.

Land Availability

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 86.

Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 92.

Ceisteanna (92, 94)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

92. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the legislation for the national regeneration and development agency will be brought forward to Dáil Éireann; if the acquisition of land for social housing will include private sites in suitable locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26434/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

94. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the anticipated launch date of the national regeneration and development agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26730/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 94 together.

Project Ireland 2040, published in February 2018, signals a significant policy shift towards securing more compact and sustainable urban and rural development, which requires significantly more effective land management in key development areas. Against that background, it is proposed to establish a National Regeneration and Development Agency to assist in ensuring a more effective approach to strategic land management, particularly in terms of publicly owned land.

The Agency will act as a national centre of expertise, working with and supporting local authorities, public bodies and other interests, to harness public lands as catalysts to stimulate regeneration and wider investment and to achieve compact, sustainable growth, with a particular emphasis on complex regeneration projects and the provision of affordable housing.

Detailed arrangements in relation to the functions, powers and mechanisms and legislative arrangements for the establishment of the Agency are currently being developed by my Department, in conjunction with the Department of An Taoiseach and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with a view to their early finalisation. The current work in this area will inform the functions, resource needs, budgetary requirements and location of the Agency.

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 86.
Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 92.

Local Authority Funding

Ceisteanna (95)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

95. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if additional funding will be provided to local authorities in 2018 for house improvement grants such as the housing adaptation scheme and the disabled persons grant scheme in view of delays in having applications approved and the importance of these schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26839/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Increased funding is being provided to local authorities in 2018 in respect of the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability. Details of the 2018 allocations to all local authorities are available on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/special-housing-needs/minister-english-announces-eu6625-million-funding-improve-homes-older.  Funding for these schemes has increased year on year since 2014 and the 2018 funding represents an increase of some 11% on the 2017 allocation.

My Department works closely with the local authorities to achieve a full drawdown of their allocations and there is careful scrutiny of spend as the year progresses, with any underspend redistributed to those local authorities with high levels of grant activity who sought additional funding.