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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 144-150
 Header Item Parking Charges
 Header Item Tenant Purchase Scheme Applications
 Header Item Pyrite Resolution Board Remit
 Header Item Water Meters Installation
 Header Item Fire Service Issues
 Header Item Planning Issues

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 144-150

Parking Charges

 144. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if local authorities can apply parking charges to privately owned car parks in retail parks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28269/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan A local authority has powers to make bye-laws for or in relation to the use, operation, protection, regulation or management of any land, services or any other matter provided by or under the control or management of the local authority, whether within or without its functional area or in relation to any connected matter (section 199 (1) of the Local Government Act 2001).  The application of parking charges on privately-owned land is a matter for the owner concerned and not the local authority.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Applications

 145. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will extend the 30 June deadline for tenants to purchase their local authority home under the 2011 scheme to allow more tenants to avail of this scheme's favourable terms. [28271/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The 2011 Fixed Tenant Purchase Scheme was a once-off scheme introduced in the context of that year’s Budget and was available to local authority tenants of more than 10 years standing.   

  Applications were accepted by local authorities up to 31 December 2011, with authorities initially given 12 months, i.e. to end 2012, to complete all sales. The 2012 deadline was subsequently extended via Regulations to the current date of 30 June 2013 in order to ensure that all sales could be completed within the regulatory framework of the Scheme.   

  There are no plans to reopen the scheme to allow for new applications, nor is it proposed to extend further the 30 June deadline for the completion of sales.   

Pyrite Resolution Board Remit

 146. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the reasons County Donegal is not included in the pyrite resolution board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28313/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The independent Pyrite Panel, which I established in September 2011, undertook a desktop study, in conjunction with stakeholder consultation, to establish certain facts in relation to the potential exposure to pyrite problems. The information was gathered from a number of sources including local authorities, structural guarantee providers, representatives of homeowners, private builders, construction professionals and public representatives and was cross referenced to verify, as far as practicable, its validity.   

  Seventy four estates were identified to the Pyrite Panel as possibly having pyrite. All of these estates are located in the five local authority areas of Dublin City, Fingal, Kildare, Meath and Offaly.   

  I understand that the Pyrite Panel were not made aware of any instances of pyrite occurring outside of those five local authority areas at the time of the report's compilation.   

  I established the Pyrite Resolution Board   earlier this year to oversee and ensure the effective implementation of a pyrite remediation programme for homeowners who have no other viable options to have pyrite remediation works undertaken. The Board has recently published an outline of the proposed remediation scheme in accordance with the recommendations of the report of the Pyrite Panel.   

  While the outline of the scheme provides that dwellings must be located in one of the five local authority areas of Dublin City, Fingal, Kildare, Meath or Offaly, the Board have signalled that the scheme will be reviewed from time to time having regard to prevailing facts and circumstances.

Water Meters Installation

 147. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will outline the cost that will occur in relation to the installation of the water meters; if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the roll-out of the water meters including cost of installation, cost per cubic metre per household and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28317/13]

 148. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide details of the companies that are installing the water meters in households; if they have any plans to replace the existing network at stages where leaks exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28318/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 148 together.

  In relation to the roll-out of the metering programme, the procurement process and measures to address leakage, I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 6, 7, 17 and 30 on today's Order Paper. It would be inappropriate to release estimates of the cost of the metering programme in advance of the completion of the ongoing procurement process.

Fire Service Issues

 149. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if an adequate risk assessment has been done for the Keeping Communities Safe document; the reason local fire authorities are not being merged into one overseeing body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28319/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I have recently published Keeping Communities Safe (KCS) as national policy for the future direction of fire services in Ireland. The document was prepared by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management in my Department through a collaborative process, which included consultation with stakeholders. The intention is to ensure that Ireland continues to manage its fire risk effectively in accordance with current international best practice and that the successful approaches to fire safety, under which the level of fire fatalities recorded in 2012 was the lowest for four decades, are extended and consolidated.

  With a view to developing a common understanding in relation to terminology in risk management, relevant definitions are set out in KCS. In particular, the term "“Risk Assessment" as used in KCS is one stage of the risk management process. The National Directorate prepared a series of Task Analyses to show how the initial fire crew, including the incident commander, would work to safely undertake tasks normally associated with the range of fire scenarios set out in Appendix A to the document.

  Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation, the phrase 'risk assessment' has a particular meaning, and requires employers to carry out risk assessments of their work activities. Guidance on relevant aspects of risk assessment for fire services, and meeting this legislative requirement, is provided in the Fire Services Ancillary Safety Statement (generic risk assessments), in the Fire Service National Incident Command System (dynamic risk assessments) and Fire Service Standard Operational Guidance (SOGs) (specific situational risk assessments). Individual fire services will prepare any additional risk assessments, guided by the Task Analyses referred to above, which may be necessary to comply with their statutory responsibilities as employers on foot of changes arising from implementation of KCS. Specifically on firefighter safety, KCS recognises the importance of the twin duties on fire authorities under the Fire Services and Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation. An updated Fire Services Safety Management System (SMS) support document is being developed as part of the KCS implementation process (a draft is currently out with stakeholders as part of the consultation process) to ensure that occupational health and safety in fire services is fully aligned with international best practice and the recently adopted local government SMS policy.

  The Keeping Communities Safe development process also considered the structures appropriate for delivering effective and efficient fire services to communities. Ultimately, it was considered that it is appropriate that fire services remain a local government service, with appropriate local political accountability. However, while fire authorities based on the principal local authorities remain, KCS provides for a move to a "shared services" structure, involving a reduction in the number of actual fire services from 30 to 21. This solution will provide for efficiencies and consistency, and evolved from a detailed consideration of options. It was noted that there is a very good fit between the roles provided currently by local authority fire services and the local government system.

  The new structures provide for service delivery units based mainly around population groups between 120,000 to 200,000 persons. There will be fourteen single authority and seven multi-authority shared services arrangements. The policy also includes a strong regional dimension based on the current eight major emergency regions to achieve/ co-ordinate efficient service provision and "mutual assistance" and support among fire services. The KCS document is available on my Department's web site at www.environ.ie.

Planning Issues

 150. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if quarries which are currently operational will continue to operate during the substitute consent process contained within the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28362/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Quarries which are required to apply for substitute consent, either following a confirmation by An Bord Pleanála of a decision of a planning authority in this regard or in a case where the quarry owner or operator did not refer the planning authority decision to the Board for a review, have been subject to a determination that environmental impact assessment (including screening) or appropriate assessment should have been carried out but were not carried out. Accordingly, it is considered that the continuation of extraction in such a quarry during the period in which the substitute consent application is being made would not be in compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive or the Habitats Directive, as appropriate.


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