Vacant Sites Levy

Ceisteanna (258)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

258. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding acquired locally during 2019 from the vacant site levy will be allowed to be spent by the county council that collected it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48469/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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 in 2018. The rate of the levy has increased to 7% for sites on a local authority vacant sites register from 2019 onwards and in respect of which site owners will become liable to with effect from January 2020.

The primary objective of the levy is to act as a mechanism to incentivise the development of vacant and underutilised sites in urban areas for both the provision of housing and the development and renewal of land, thereby facilitating the most efficient use of such land and sites and enabling them to be brought into beneficial use rather than allowing them to remain dormant and undeveloped. It is not intended that the levy be a revenue generating measure. The proceeds of the levy do not accrue to the Exchequer.

The proceeds of the levy raised on vacant sites by individual planning authorities will be used by them for the provision of housing and regeneration development in the local area in which vacant sites are located. For example, the levy proceeds may be spent on:

- the provision of housing, the preservation/protection of structures of special architectural, historical, cultural interest etc.,

- the provision or improvement of services or facilities for the local community i.e. education, training, recreational, cultural facilities,

- the preservation, improvement and extension of amenities, including recreational amenities, on the land, civic improvements, and

- projects/works for the benefit of urban streets in the area including the improvement of streets/ footpaths in local shopping streets and business areas and the removal of graffiti.

No more than 10% of the levy monies received by planning authorities may be used on their administration costs.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (259)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

259. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of times he has met with insurance companies and Insurance Ireland since 1 January 2016; the date of each meeting; the persons or bodies he met with; the purpose of each meeting in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48305/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

As Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government I have not met with any representatives from insurance companies or Insurance Ireland since taking office in June 2017. In the period since 1 January 2016, my Department has met with the insurance sector on a number of occasions as outlined in the following table.

Date of Meeting

Insurance Company

Purpose of Meetings

23 June 2016

Marsh Ireland

Latent defects insurance

7 September 2016

Homebond

Meeting between expert panel on concrete blocks and Homebond regarding issues in Donegal and Mayo

7 September 2016

Insurance Ireland

Meeting between expert panel on concrete blocks and Insurance Ireland regarding issues in Donegal and Mayo

3 February 2017

Homebond

Review technical details on Part L of the Building Regulations for the Homebond manual.

6 November 2017

Marsh Ireland

Latent defects insurance

6 February 2018

Homebond

Review technical details on Part L of the Building Regulations for the Homebond manual.

Separately, a representative of Insurance Ireland is a member of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Board and attends Board meetings in that capacity on a regular basis.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (260)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

260. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason local authority tenants cannot purchase Part V houses under the tenant purchase scheme; if there are exceptions; if this applies to those that were tenants prior to the introduction of the 2016 legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015, provide the basis for the Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme for existing local authority houses. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least one year.

The 2015 Regulations governing the Scheme provide for a number of specified classes of houses to be excluded from sale, including houses provided to local authorities under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, houses specifically designed for older persons, group Traveller housing and houses provided to facilitate people with disabilities transferring from institutional care to community-based living.

The provisions of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, are designed to enable the development of mixed tenure sustainable communities. Under the terms of the Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme 2016, Part V homes regardless of when they were tenanted are excluded to ensure that homes delivered under this mechanism will remain available for people in need of social housing support and that the original policy goals of the legislation are not eroded over time. The continued development of mixed tenure communities remains very important in promoting social integration.

Local authorities may also, within the provisions of the Regulations, exclude certain houses which, in the opinion of the authority, should not be sold for reasons such as proper stock or estate management. It is a matter for each individual local authority to administer the Scheme in its operational area in line with the over-arching provisions of the governing legislation for the scheme, and in a manner appropriate to its housing requirements.

In line with the commitment given in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, a review of the operation of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase (Incremental) Scheme has been completed and a full report has been prepared setting out findings and recommendations.

I intend to bring a comprehensive package of social housing reform measures to Government in the near future and the review of the Tenant Purchase Scheme will be published as part of that process.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (261)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

261. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the level of funding provided for group sewerage schemes in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The following table sets out the recoupment by my Department to local authorities each year since 2016 for Group Sewerage Schemes.

Local Authority

2016

2017

2018

2019 - (up to 18/11/19)

Cavan

80,274.36

Clare

8,384.35

Kerry

59,270.34

7,806.84

4,947.54

Leitrim

794.50

Totals

59,270.34

88,081.20

4,947.54

9,178.85

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Ceisteanna (262)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

262. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average monthly housing assistance payment for each quarter of 2019 to date; the average monthly HAP payment for each county; the number of recipients by county for each quarter of 2019 to date, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48345/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals. At the end of Q2 2019, over 62,700 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 48,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support and over 28,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme.

Details of the average monthly landlord payment by local authority area and the number of active tenancies at the end of Quarters 1 and 2 2019, are set out in the following table. Information in respect of Quarter 3 2019 is currently being compiled and will be available shortly.

Local Authority

Average landlord payment Q1 2019

No. of Active Tenancies Q1 2019

Average landlord payment Q2 2019

No. of Active Tenancies Q2 2019

Carlow County Council

554

707

555

743

Cavan County Council

455

301

456

322

Clare County Council

465

1,332

467

1,344

Cork City Council

774

2,167

791

2,546

Cork County Council

737

3,427

732

3,228

Donegal County Council

394

1,727

395

1,734

Dublin City Council

1,292

2,594

1,292

2,904

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

1,359

437

1,357

468

Fingal County Council

1,340

1,436

1,348

1,581

Galway City Council

807

1,465

813

1,544

Galway County Council

711

1,052

717

1,093

Kerry County Council

516

1,002

517

1,076

Kildare County Council

921

2,042

923

2,109

Kilkenny County Council

578

866

583

883

Laois County Council

581

715

589

788

Leitrim County Council

414

223

416

237

Limerick City and County Council

584

2,219

589

2264

Longford County Council

408

297

412

306

Louth County Council

846

2,786

860

2,890

Mayo County Council

506

1,158

510

1,201

Meath County Council

937

1,804

944

1,915

Monaghan County Council

490

555

498

579

Offaly County Council

515

862

520

855

Roscommon County Council

457

370

461

391

Sligo County Council

506

677

509

712

South Dublin County Council

1,230

2657

1,245

2,701

Tipperary County Council

492

1,772

495

1,792

Waterford City and County Council

513

1,826

517

1,863

Westmeath County Council

559

716

560

780

Wexford County Council

527

1,131

529

1,222

Wicklow County Council

1,005

1,036

1,001

1,197

Average Monthly Payment

817

829

DRHE*

4,556

4,993

Total Active Tenancies

45,915

48,261

* The average monthly landlord payment for tenancies set up by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) are recorded against the individual local authority.

My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review. In general, I am satisfied with the operation of the HAP and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under Rebuilding Ireland.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Ceisteanna (263)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

263. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of households that have left the housing assistance payment scheme per annum from 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals. At the end of Q2 2019, over 62,700 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 48,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support and over 28,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme.

HAP supported tenancies are agreed between the landlord and the tenant. It is important to note that the local authority is not a party to the tenancy and has no role in its agreement. There is no limitation placed by the scheme on the length of tenancy that can be supported by HAP. However, as with other private rental tenancies, the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as amended) governs the relationship between landlord and tenant and the length of the tenancy is a matter that must be agreed between the landlord and tenant in that context.

At the end of Q2 2019, a total of 14,478 households were reported on the HAP Shared Services Centre system as having exited HAP. This included tenant led exits; compliance exits; transfers to other forms of social housing; and landlord exits. This report is based on cessations, as submitted by local authorities.

Details of the number of Closed/Exit Tenancies by year, are set out in the following table.

Year

No. of Closed/Exit Tenancies

2015

312

2016

1,425

2017

3,181

2018

5,711

2019 (Q2)

3,849 (Q2)

Total

14,478

In cases where a HAP supported tenancy ends, the tenant can find alternative accommodation and retain their eligibility for HAP support or the local authority may decide to offer another form of social housing support to the tenant in accordance with their scheme of letting priorities.

My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review. In general, I am satisfied with the operation of the HAP and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under Rebuilding Ireland.

Rental Accommodation Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (264)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

264. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average monthly rental accommodation scheme payments for each quarter of 2019 to date; the average monthly rental assistance scheme payment for each county; the number of recipients by county for each quarter of 2019 to date, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) was established in 2004 and placed responsibility on local authorities to meet the accommodation needs of people in receipt of Rent Supplement for 18 months or longer, and who are assessed as having a long-term housing need. RAS provides a more structured, accommodation-based approach to the use of the private rented sector to meet long-term housing need, thereby eliminating dependence on temporary income support payments, i.e. rent supplement.

The following table sets out the average monthly and quarterly expenditure under RAS for Q1 and Q2 2019 and the number of RAS tenancies in place at the end of Q1 and Q2 2019, broken down by local authority area. Data in relation to Q3 is being collated.

RAS continues to be an effective and secure form of social housing support. While it remains a significant part of the suite of social housing options currently available to those who are assessed as being in need of housing support, its role as the replacement for Rent Supplement for these with a social housing need is now being increasingly fulfilled by the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme.

Local Authority

 RAS Average Expenditure per Month Q1 2019

Total Tenancies End Q1 2019

Average cost of Tenancy per Month Q1 2019

RAS Average Expenditure per Month Q2 2019

Total Tenancies End Q2 2019

Average cost of Tenancy per Month Q2 2019

Carlow Co. Cl. 

€328,990.00

499

€659.30

€293,342.25

493

€595.01

Cavan Co. Cl. 

€307,576.72

562

€547.29

€261,411.95

555

€471.01

Clare Co. Cl. 

€199,399.29

373

€534.58

€179,505.63

394

€455.60

Cork City Cl. 

€606,387.05

824

€735.91

€567,550.55

925

€613.57

Cork Co CL 

€502,933.19

857

€586.85

€439,033.41

732

€599.77

Donegal Co. Cl.

€180,298.64

547

€329.61

€143,410.29

547

€262.18

Dublin City Cl.

€1,510,850.87

1765

€856.01

€1,375,599.18

1719

€800.23

Dun/Rathdown

€568,011.70

1292

€439.64

€539,082.96

1261

€427.50

South Dublin Co. Cl.

€1,457,921.79

528

€2,761.22

€1,127,578.21

516

€2,185.23

Fingal Co. Cl.

€794,089.67

647

€1,227.34

€734,079.57

640

€1,147.00

Galway City Cl.

€267,445.48

421

€635.26

€229,527.31

412

€557.11

Galway Co Cl

€185,169.01

324

€571.51

€170,149.59

323

€526.78

Kerry Co. Cl.

€559,743.60

891

€628.22

€503,564.71

894

€563.27

Kildare Co. Cl.

€506,862.04

578

€876.92

€451,731.36

553

€816.87

Kilkenny Co. Cl.

€531,646.30

911

€583.59

€489,026.14

925

€528.68

Laois Co. Cl.

€112,427.22

218

€515.72

€100,090.99

214

€467.71

Leitrim Co. Cl.

€47,079.48

114

€412.98

€38,230.74

114

€335.36

Limerick City & Co. Cl.

€775,536.04

1145

€677.32

€713,136.35

1183

€602.82

Longford

€97,844.33

207

€472.68

€83,454.33

208

€401.22

Louth Co. Cl.

€57,427.31

120

€478.56

€47,837.22

120

€398.64

Mayo Co. Cl.

€428,793.52

808

€530.69

€387,805.22

816

€475.25

Meath Co. Cl.

€332,791.23

407

€817.67

€304,077.04

396

€767.87

Monaghan Co. Cl.

€91,304.87

215

€424.67

€81,375.54

209

€389.36

Offaly Co. Cl.

€80,461.14

130

€618.93

€74,746.92

132

€566.26

Roscommon Co. Cl

€199,933.38

404

€494.88

€171,984.41

400

€429.96

Sligo Co. Cl.

€271,945.33

541

€502.67

€231,239.70

525

€440.46

Tipperary Co. Cl. 

€556,743.99

1089

€511.24

€521,293.01

1087

€479.57

Waterford City & Co. Cl.

€341,403.28

675

€505.78

€268,117.29

667

€401.97

Westmeath Co.Cl.

€400,658.97

584

€686.06

€358,390.84

587

€610.55

Wexford Co.Cl.

€346,699.97

600

€577.83

€307,024.70

578

€531.18

Wicklow Co.Cl.

€443,342.33

421

€1,053.07

€399,463.63

395

€1,011.30

National Total

€13,091,717.74

18697

€700.20

€11,592,861.04

18520

€625.96

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (265)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

265. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average monthly payment under the social housing current expenditure programme (leasing) for each quarter of 2019 to date; the average social housing current expenditure programme (leasing) for each county; the number of recipients by county for each quarter of 2019 to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48349/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP) supports the delivery of social housing by providing financial support to local authorities for the long term leasing of houses and apartments from a range of different sources including Repair and Leasing, Enhanced Leasing and Long-term leasing. In addition, SHCEP supports the current costs of dwellings delivered by AHBs under my Department's Build and Acquisition Programmes under the Capital Advance Loan Facility (CALF) and Housing Agency Acquisitions (HAA) programme. The SHCEP budget for 2019 is just under €155 million.

Data on the total number of contractual agreements held by local authorities and supported by my Department from SHCEP is published on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision .

Data in relation to the average monthly cost for dwellings delivered under leasing, and the total number of leased dwellings funded under SHCEP, for Q1 and Q2 2019, are set out in the following table. Data for Q3 2019 is being col

lated and will be available shortly.

Table: Average Lease Cost and Total Leased Dwellings Q1 and Q2 2019

LA

Average Monthly Lease Payment – Q1 2019

Total Operational Leased Dwellings – Q1 2019

Average Monthly Lease Payment – Q2 2019

Total Operational Leased Dwellings – Q2 2019

Carlow

€566

134

€566

134

Cavan

€524

33

€528

34

Clare

€619

336

€625

346

Cork City

€743

247

€757

253

Cork County

€728

981

€729

984

DLR

€1,202

189

€1,202

189

Donegal

€528

286

€528

286

Dublin City

€950

749

€955

756

Fingal

€873

537

€886

554

Galway City

€940

208

€940

209

Galway County

€626

70

€630

71

Kerry

€642

305

€659

298

Kildare

€742

231

€805

234

Kilkenny

€652

79

€649

84

Laois

€610

225

€610

225

Leitrim

€492

15

€492

15

Limerick

€684

94

€682

106

Longford

€578

100

€578

100

Louth

€707

369

€707

369

Mayo

€630

173

€636

192

Meath

€688

163

€696

170

Monaghan

€536

51

€535

54

Offaly

€646

256

€650

257

Roscommon

€476

14

€513

22

Sligo

€660

61

€660

61

South Dublin

€1,183

646

€1,183

646

Tipperary

€602

421

€603

443

Waterford

€553

260

€547

265

Westmeath

€673

362

€674

384

Wexford

€581

197

€582

204

Wicklow

€871

40

€877

43

Overall

€753

7,832

€757

7,988

*Note - operational units are units that are being claimed for by local authorities and actively funded by SHCEP.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (266)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

266. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the rights of the public in respect of access to details of new planning applications online; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Dublin City Council frequently takes up to three weeks to put documents on their website thus greatly reducing the time for members of the public to make submissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under Article 27 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, planning authorities are required to publish on their websites weekly lists of all new planning applications. The lists must be published within five working days following a particular week.

With regard to the documentation linked to a planning application, there is no statutory requirement to publish planning documents online. However, planning authorities must make available copies of documents for public inspection and purchase at planning authority offices.

My Department, in conjunction with the local authority sector, is currently working on the development of an online eplanning system. This will enable the electronic submission of both planning applications and public submissions to the planning authorities, as well as the viewing of planning applications and documents online.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (267)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

267. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the affordable rental scheme which he and An Taoiseach launched in County Cork in recent days; the unit cost of developing these units with a breakdown of the site and build cost; the qualifying criteria for future tenants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48426/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I assume the Question is referring to a development in Boherboy Road, Mayfield, Cork City, that I launched with An Taoiseach on 16 November 2019. From the outset, I would like to clarify that this development comprises homes that will be made available for purchase under the affordable dwelling purchase arrangements rather than being made available for rental.

In line with the commitments in Rebuilding Ireland to support the delivery of more affordable homes to buy or rent, this Government has allocated €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), from 2019 to 2021, to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of some 6,200 homes on local authority lands. This funding is being made available in areas where local authorities have demonstrated a requirement for affordable housing and the viability to deliver such housing from their sites.

To date, I have allocated SSF funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, for infrastructure works that will see the delivery of almost 3,200 affordable homes. One of the 35 approved projects, is the aforementioned Boherboy Road development in Cork City Council.

This site at Boherboy is local authority owned lands and has received approval for SSF funding of almost €5m for infrastructure that will support the delivery of 116 affordable homes. In addition, 37 further homes will be made available on the site for social housing. The homes made available for affordable purchase will be a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced with a variety of house types and designs. Cork City Council have indicated to my Department that this project will be delivered in five different phases, with the first phase to be available in Q3 of 2020.

Cork City Council has provided a breakdown of the house type, the number of affordable homes, the anticipated starting price of the affordable homes and the floor area.

House Type

Number of Units

Pricing (From)

Approx. Floor Areas (m²)

2 Bedroom House

24

€198,000

70m²

3 Bedroom House

92

€ 223,000

92m²

It should be noted that the above-mentioned prices take into account the maximum discount of €20,000 that is available to purchasers through the Help to Buy Scheme. Therefore the prices quoted above are the minimum sales prices to eligible purchasers and based on their individual applicable discounts.

Homes delivered under the SSF are subject to the provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 which was commenced in June 2018. This legislation now provides the statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase in the State. Regulations in respect of the making of Schemes of Priority were signed on 12 March 2019, and these were issued to local authorities on 22 March 2019. The purpose of a Scheme of Priority is to set out the affordable purchase arrangements at local authority level. This includes the methodology that will be applied by local authorities to determine the order of priority to be accorded to eligible households where the demand for such affordable dwellings exceeds the number available. I can confirm that Cork City Council submitted their Scheme of Priority to my Department on 3 May 2019, which I subsequently approved on 28 June 2019.

In line with the legal requirements of the Affordable Dwelling Purchase Arrangements, further regulations will be put in place over the coming months regarding eligibility and other matters. When the operational procedures for the scheme are finalised, and before dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department and local authorities.

An Bord Pleanála Appeals

Ceisteanna (268)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

268. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 213 of 11 October 2018, when it will be possible to make online appeal submissions to An Bord Pleanála via its website as is the case with local authority planning applications; his views on whether this service will be available by the end of 2019 as he previously stated; if not, the reason for the slippage; his plans to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48427/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

An Bord Pleanála is currently implementing a major ICT strategy which will facilitate the introduction of online planning services as part of a complete transformation and replacement of core systems. The first phase of the implementation of the ICT strategy involves the ongoing deployment of a new case management and geographic information system across the organisation. The final phase includes development of a new website and web portal which will ultimately facilitate online submission of planning appeals, observations, submissions and applications, linking in with the roll-out of the local authorities’ own ePlanning initiative.

I understand that full implementation of the new case management system to a required satisfactory level of functionality has taken longer than expected and that this has consequently delayed progression of the related elements of the overall project. I also understand that the tendering process for the new website has commenced, with the expectation that web portal online functions will be available from late 2020/early 2021, in tandem with the completion of the new case management system.

Local Authority Expenditure

Ceisteanna (269)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

269. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount paid in each year since 2016 by each local authority on personal injury claims in tabular form; the mechanism by which personal injury claims are paid by local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48454/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The day to day running of each local authority is a matter for its Chief Executive. I have no specific function in relation to the matter raised and the specific information requested is not available in my Department. The information should be available in individual local authorities.

Local Authority Expenditure

Ceisteanna (270)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

270. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount paid out by each local authority in each year since 2016 on public liability insurance and for employers liability insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48455/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The day to day running of each local authority is a matter for its Chief Executive while budgetary decisions are made by the Elected Members. I have no specific function in relation to the matter raised and the specific information requested is not available in my Department. The information should be available in individual local authorities.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (271)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

271. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the local government Part XI planning and public consultation process including the decision making responsibilities and the right of appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48456/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The public procedure for Part XI development is provided for under Part 8 of the Planning Development Regulations 2001, as amended. A planning authority is required to advertise its proposals for certain types of its own developments, erect a site notice, make available plans and particulars for inspection and to invite submissions and observations from members of the public as well as from the relevant statutory bodies in respect of such proposals.

Under Section 179 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, the Chief Executive of the authority is then required to produce a report, including reference to all submissions received, regarding the proposed development for the consideration of the elected members of the Council.

The development proposals and the Chief Executive's report must be submitted to the elected members of the Council who may, as a reserved function, resolve to accept, modify or reject the proposal within 6 weeks of the date of the receipt of the report made by the Chief Executive.

As developments prescribed in Part 8 of the 2001 Regulations are exempted development, there is no provision for a planning appeal. However, anyone may apply to the High Court to seek judicial review of any decision made by a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála.

Regeneration Projects

Ceisteanna (272)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

272. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the progress report for east County Sligo and Cranmore invariant remaster plan; the funding drawn down to date; the planned timeline for its development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48468/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Masterplan for the Cranmore area was launched in December 2016 and sets out the high level priorities and objectives to be achieved and the range of physical, social and economic projects that will achieve these objectives. The estimated cost of the programme is €75.6m comprising €42m exchequer funding and €33.6m through private sector development. My Department has committed €20m funding for a physical and social programme of works and it is open to the Council to pursue funding from other Government Departments to achieve the €42m exchequer spend.

A key element of the regeneration programme is the upgrading of the housing stock in the Cranmore Estate at an estimated cost of €8.6m. The first tranche involving works to 96 homes received funding approval in October 2019, at a cost of €4.4m. Sligo County Council aim to be on site in the coming weeks.

Alongside this, the upgrade works to the junction of Devins Drive/Cranmore Road, the provision of Pedestrian/Bicycle Link to Chapel Hill and the refurbishment of void properties are among the elements of the Physical Regeneration programme, as is the construction of a new Community Centre. The Masterplan includes initiatives aimed at the local residents and community, such as an Education and Learning Strategy, Community Safety Taskforce while the three underpinning strategies of the Social Plan are Arts and Culture, Community Development and Youth Work along with Interagency Engagement and Collaboration.

Since the launch of the Masterplan the Council has drawn down €4.6m and prior to that, my Department had invested over €23.5m in a number of strategic initiatives across the regeneration area, bringing the total spend to date to €28.1m.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (273)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

273. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of times she has met with insurance companies and Insurance Ireland since 1 January 2016; the date of each meeting; the persons or bodies she met with; the purpose of each meeting in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48298/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I can advise the Deputy that neither I, nor my predecessor Minister Humphreys has met with insurance companies or Insurance Ireland since 1 January 2016.

Special Areas of Conservation Management

Ceisteanna (274)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

274. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the date on which her officials last inspected each area of the Malahide Estuary SAC (details supplied); her plans to conduct surveys in the SAC in the immediate future; if it is her Department or the local authority that holds the title to the lands in the area; if lands in the area are leased by groups and or clubs; if so, the terms and or duration of the lease; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48353/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department is responsible for implementing the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2018, the primary legislation underpinning the protection of biodiversity and nature in Ireland. The Wildlife Acts afford protection to a range of habitats and species and provide for regulation and control of activities that impinge on biodiversity, such as hunting and trade.

The legislative framework in place to protect our natural heritage is further strengthened by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 SI No 477/2011, which also fall under the remit of my Department. These Regulations transpose the EU Birds Directive and the EU Habitats Directive into national law, and provide for protection of certain habitats and species across the European Union, giving a framework for specific measures to be taken to target areas of concern in each Member State. The main instruments provided for are the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPA), aimed at the protection of threatened species of birds, and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), aimed at protecting other animal species and habitats.

Malahide Estuary SAC is situated immediately north of Malahide and east of Swords and has been selected for designation for a number of habitats. The site is also important ornithologically, holding an internationally important population of Brent Goose and attracting migrant species such as Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Little Stint.

My Department do not own or manage any part of this SAC. Monitoring of SACs are carried out by my Department on a cyclical basis, typically every three years. There are no plans to undertake further scientific surveys in the Malahide Estuary SAC at this time.

Historic Towns Initiative

Ceisteanna (275)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

275. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to roll out a scheme for small heritage towns with a population under 1,500; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48365/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Deputy may be aware of The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) which is a joint undertaking between my Department and the Heritage Council to support Irish historic towns in using their cultural heritage to drive investment and renewal. The internationally recognised practice of heritage-led regeneration shows that heritage can be used to create a desirable place where people can live, visit and do business. Heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits enabling our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises. This initiative is presently targeted at towns with an indicative minimum population level of 1,500 people.

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme, however, operated by my colleague, Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development has a category of funding which includes towns and villages with a population under 1,500 people. It is a key part of this Government's Action Plan for Rural Development and is part of a package of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. Further details are available on that Department’s website - www.drcd.ie .

In my own Department, I recently launched a €4.3m fund for conservation and repair of Ireland’s protected historic structures through 2 grant schemes, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund, both of which are administered through the local authorities. These schemes are provided by my Department to assist the owners of protected buildings and structures with meeting their obligations to care for and safeguard our built heritage. Applications can be made to Local Authorities until 31 January 2020 and both schemes are open to applications for projects across the Country, including in towns with a population of under 1,500. Further details are available on my Departments website www.chg.gov.ie and on all local authority websites.