Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Local Authority Housing
Question 354: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if local authorities are having their budgets for insulation projects reduced to help fund the new national insulation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7080/09]
Michael Finneran (Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing, Urban Renewal and Developing Areas, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Roscommon-South Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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At present, funding for the retrofitting of insulation in local authority stock is provided either as part of a central heating grant provided under the National Central Heating Programme or is funded by the local authority from its own resources under its annual Improvement Works Programme.
Under the National Central Heating Programme 2004-2008 the Department has co-funded the installation of central heating, and associated insulation and energy efficiency improvements, in some 26,000 local authority dwellings at a cost to the Exchequer of €125 million. A further €12 million has been allocated in 2009 to complete the programme, with local authorities overseeing the installation of some 2,100 units commenced in 2008. Local authorities also have delegated sanction for the use of their internal capital receipts, subject to approval by my Department of an annual improvement works programme, and may direct resources to projects which are deemed most meritorious of funding in their authority. Works funded under this programme may include the installation of insulation and other measures to improve energy efficiency in their stock.
As part of a national programme for the "greening" of the social housing stock, some €50 million in exchequer funding has been set aside in 2009 to support a range of initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of the stock. This programme will include support for the first round of Towards Carbon Neutral and insulation retrofitting projects, as well as providing funding to assist local authorities in improving the energy rating of its dwellings, due to be re-let during the year, and to advance the overall energy efficiency in apartment complexes.