I propose to take Questions Nos. 1401 and 1402 together.
Under the vacant site levy provisions in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, planning authorities are empowered to apply a vacant site levy of 3% of the market value of relevant vacant sites with effect from January 2019 where a site exceeds 0.05 hectares in area, was in the planning authority’s opinion vacant or idle in 2018, and is in an area identified by the planning authority in its development plan or local area plan for residential or regeneration development. The rate of the levy has been increased to 7% of the market value for sites listed on a local authority vacant sites register from 2019 onwards, to be applied from January 2020.
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. As provided for under the Act, the register in respect of each local authority is available for inspection at its offices and online on its website.
However, on foot of a recent review of the on-line vacant site registers across all local authority areas, I understand that while 10 local authorities have yet to populate their registers, 21 authority have and there are collectively over 360 individual sites currently on the local registers. Over 120 of these sites were entered on the local vacant site registers on 1 January 2018 and will therefore be subject to the levy in 2019, unless development works were activated in the interim.
My Department will continue to monitor implementation of the levy to ensure that it is being effectively applied, in line with its intended purpose of incentivising the development of vacant or under-utilised sites in urban areas. To support this work, levy implementation progress reports were requested from local authorities. All local authorities have submitted responses to this request which are currently being examined by my Department with a view to determining what, if any, further implementation supports may be required.