Written answers

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Sorca Clarke (Longford-Westmeath, Sinn Fein)
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166. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the amount of expenditure incurred by county and site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the provision of car parking in tabular form. [18078/21]

Sorca Clarke (Longford-Westmeath, Sinn Fein)
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167. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of current plans by county and site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the provision of car parking and other mechanisms for safe access to each NPWS site in tabular form. [18079/21]

Malcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 166 and 167 together.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department manages a natural heritage network of some 87,000 hectares across over 80 individual sites. Many of these sites have parking facilities which are upgraded and maintained on an ongoing basis as part of the regular operation activities of the NPWS, subject to both resourcing and consideration of the conservation requirements of these sites.

The pandemic has exposed significant challenges on all National Parks, nature reserves and scenic areas and I am of the view that alternative measures to reduce pressures on habitats and natural amenities must be prioritised over and above extending or providing car parks.

I am keen that sustainable mobility options be explored in the longer term to reduce traffic pressures. Such measures do not necessarily need to be state-provided and I would be hopeful of the private sector providing, for example shuttle services to locations where there is clearly a demand.

At present, there is no charge for car parking at any of our sites, so no current expenditure is explicitly incurred in security or revenue collection thereon. I attach below a table of capital expenditure on carparks at our sites in 2020. Funding is provided when appropriate on a case by case basis.

County Location Project Amount spent
Kerry Tomies Wood, Killarney National Park Tomies Wood car park and public access €687,919.19
Kerry Killarney National Park Dinis Loop €147,673.48
Clare Coole Park Kerbing at the Coole Bus Park €25,501
Donegal Glenveagh National Park Barrier at Gate in Visitor Centre Public Car Park €6,844.05
Mayo Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park Altnabrocky Road Repairs €10,000.00

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