Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Local Improvement Scheme
283. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will give further consideration to the provision of funding to local authorities in 2021 for the local improvement scheme due to the long waiting lists in areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan and the unacceptable delays for households in rural areas having laneways accessing their homes brought up to an acceptable standard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44554/20]
As previously outlined to the Deputy, the maintenance of roads not taken in charge by local authorities is the responsibility of the relevant landowners.
The Local Government Act 2001 provides the statutory basis for the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS). Under that Scheme, funding can be provided to local authorities for the construction and improvement of non-public roads (that is roads not taken in charge by local authorities) which meet the criteria set out in the Act. A contribution from the beneficiaries is required in all cases.
Up to 2012 my Department did provide ring-fenced funding for this scheme. However, due to the major cutbacks in roads funding arising from the post 2008 financial crisis, it was necessary for the Department to stop providing dedicated funding for LIS in 2012 and there was no funding for LIS in that year.
After that from 2013 to 2017, while there was no separate allocation for the Local Improvement Scheme, local authorities could use a proportion of their Discretionary grant for the Local Improvement Scheme if they chose to do so. The reason this approach was taken was that it was considered that Councils were best placed to decide whether to concentrate the limited grant funding available on public roads or to operate a local improvement scheme for non-public roads.
In September 2017, my colleague the Minister for Rural and Community Development reintroduced dedicated funding for the LIS and is continuing to fund the scheme. In light of the significant funding being put into LIS by the Department of Rural & Community Development and the need to direct resources into maintaining and renewing public roads, it was decided that the option of allocating a proportion of my Department's Discretionary grant to LIS would no longer apply from 2018. This remains the position.
I understand that funding for the LIS will continue to be available from the Department of Rural and Community Development in 2021.