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Vacant Sites Levy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 24 July 2018

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Ceisteanna (2606, 2715)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

2606. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the estimated yield by increasing the vacant site levy to 15%, 20% and 25%, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33516/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

2715. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 1576 of 17 April 2018, the number of notices issued by each planning authority in relation to vacant site tax in tabular form; if his Department is monitoring the progress of each planning authority in identifying vacant sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33908/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2606 and 2715 together.

The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced the vacant site levy 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.  As implementation of the vacant site levy provision is a matter for each local authority, my Department does not have information on the exact number of notices issued by each authority.

The Act empowered planning authorities to apply an annual vacant site levy of 3% of the market value of relevant vacant sites, where a site exceeds 0.05 hectares in area, was, in the planning authority’s opinion, vacant or idle in the preceding year, commencing in the year 2018, and is in an area identified by the planning authority in its development plan or local area plan for residential or regeneration development, with reduced or zero rates of levy applying in specific circumstances.

However, the recently enacted Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 makes a number of amendments to the vacant site levy provisions in the 2015 Act.  Notably, as announced in Budget 2018, the 2018 Act provides for the increased rate of levy from 3% to 7% for sites on the register for the year 2019 and for the removal of the provisions regarding the application of reduced or zero rates of the levy for sites on the register that are subject to a site loan, to ensure the levy is more effective in bringing forward sites for housing development.

My Department does not maintain a central register of vacant sites.  However, on foot of a recent review of the on-line vacant site registers across all local authority areas, I understand that 16 authorities have populated their vacant site registers to date, of which 11 had sites on their registers before 1 January 2018.

At this time, while some planning authorities have already obtained and populated the vacant site registers with market valuation of the relevant sites, other authorities are currently  undertaking this necessary work.  In advance of having comprehensive information regarding sites valuations, it is not possible to provide an estimate of the annual levies that may be raised by planning authorities through the implementation of the levy or to estimate the annual levies that may be raised from the application of different levy rates than those provided for. 

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 also provided guidance and advice and 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 and so that the full potential of the measure can be realised.

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