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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 132-138
 Header Item Water Charges
 Header Item Temple Bar Cultural Trust
 Header Item Leader Programmes
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Development Levies
 Header Item Planning Issues

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 796 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 132-138

Water Charges

 132. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the proposals in place regarding who will pay for water services; the amount that will be payable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13187/13]

 140. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will confirm that water charges will be introduced on an assessed basis in 2014. [13273/13]

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. 132 and 140 together.     

I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 81 and 91 of 12 March 2013, which sets out the position on these matters.   

Temple Bar Cultural Trust

 133. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will lay before Dáil Éireann the latest report and accounts of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, formerly Temple Bar Properties Limited. [13413/13]

 134. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will set out in tabular form the list of properties controlled by the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, formerly Temple Bar Properties Limited; and if he will designate each property that is currently rented or vacant. [13414/13]

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. 133 and 134 together.   

  The Temple Bar Cultural Trust organisation is a private limited company with the Dublin City Manager as the sole shareholder. Therefore, in the first instance, governance arrangements and financial management of the Trust are a matter for Dublin City Council.

I have no role in relation to these matters. Accordingly, the information sought is not available in my Department and may be obtained directly from Dublin City Council.   

Leader Programmes

 135. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if all applicants for Leader funding who had projects approved for funding under Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta have completed those projects and have now been paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13142/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG) was the Local Development Company contracted by my Department to deliver Axes 3 & 4 (LEADER) of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) in Gaeltacht Areas for the current 2007-2013 programming period. MFG went into liquidation on 7 September 2011. The delivery of RDP funding to the Gaeltacht areas previously served by MFG is now being facilitated by the geographically contiguous Local Action Groups (LAGs) in all areas except the Erris region of Mayo. I expect to have a solution for the Erris area in the near future.

Between February 2009 and September 2011 MFG registered expenditure of €1.9 million and at the time of the liquidation had outstanding project commitments of €4.1 million which are now being dealt with by the contiguous LAGs.

A number of issues have arisen in relation to a number of the legacy project files including missing or inadequate documentation. However the LAGs in question are pursuing these issues with a view to resolving as many as possible, as quickly as possible. My Department has issued advice on how to progress the processing of project files where issues have arisen and it is hoped that this will assist the LAGs in their decision making process and facilitate the submission of claims for payment where appropriate.

The LAGs involved in processing the legacy MFG files have indicated that they expect to process approximately €800,000 in respect of 74 project claims by the end of 2013 of which just under €114,000 has been paid to date.

Planning Issues

 136. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if there will be planning permission requirements for local authority grant aided remedial works that will be required to be carried out on septic tanks that fail an inspection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13143/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan There is an existing mechanism whereby improvement works necessary to comply with water pollution concerns of a local authority can be considered as exempted development. Under Section 12 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977, where it appears to a local authority that it is necessary to do so in order to prevent or control pollution of waters, the local authority may serve a notice in writing on any person having control of any polluting matter on premises in its functional area. This would include on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems. Under the provisions of current exempted development regulations, work consisting of or incidental to the carrying out of development in order to comply with a notice under Section 12 is exempted development.  

My Department is currently examining what further amendments to the exempted development provisions of planning legislation are necessary where the provision of improved on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems arises as a result of inspections carried out under the new legislation. The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is assisting with the process so as to ensure that the exemption provided will take account of the requirements of relevant EU Directives in relation to habitats required by Section 4(4)(a) and (b) of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2010. The necessary legislation will be in place prior to inspections being carried out.

Development Levies

 137. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the amount outstanding in development levies to local authorities; the years to which these development levies relate; the amount of outstanding levies by county; the advice he will give to local authorities in terms of collecting such outstanding levies, particularly in cases where a developer has gone out of business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13176/13]

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 role of the Minister in regard to development contributions is to provide the necessary statutory and policy framework within which individual development contribution schemes are adopted by each local authority. The adoption of these schemes is a reserved function of the locally elected members of each planning authority. It is a matter for the members to determine the level of contribution and the types of development to which they will apply. Similarly, and as with all local charges, the invoicing and collection of any outstanding development contributions is a matter for the local authority concerned to manage in the light of prevailing local circumstances and in accordance with normal financial procedures. Where any payments required in respect of development contributions are not settled such payments may be pursued by the planning authority through the courts as a contract debt and until such time as amounts outstanding are discharged in full the conditions of the relevant planning permission have not been met and the development is unauthorised.

The figures requested are in the table. Current debtors are debts due in the current year; long term debtors reflect all debts from previous years. However, an annual breakdown in respect of long term debtors is not available.   

Local Authority Current Development Levy Debtors Long Term Development Levy Debtors
Carlow County Council 1,194,269.00 11,431,053.00
Cavan County Council 2,130,463.69 3,485,133.00
Clare County Council 6,123,354.11 0
Cork Council 8,102,098.00 44,617,612.00
Donegal County Council 1,766,400.17 3,622,131.00
Fingal County Council 129,602,377.85 2,214,225.55
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 39,158,302.00 51,693,806.00
Galway County Council 2,582,669.41 12,500,000.00
Kerry County Council 1,214,667.00 551,358.00
Kildare County Council 6,517,214.61 27,199,458.45
Kilkenny County Council 4,562,682.07 0
Laois County Council 1,572,495.82 3,729,297.37
Leitrim County Council 1,721,345.96 3,085,213.53
Limerick County Council 38,511,229.11 0
Longford County Council 1,637,448.42 2,215,000.00
Louth County Council 3,362,436.53 5,443,414.38
Mayo County Council 10,332,760.00 1,045,824.00
Meath County Council 13,336,842.03 8,278,433.00
Monaghan County Council 959,163.00 3,660,230.00
North Tipperary County Council 1,731,918.31 616,064.72
Offaly County Council 3,139,423.00 85,892.00
Roscommon County Council 14,243,971.05 769,859.00
Sligo County Council 1,405,488.50 331,335.00
South Dublin County Council 32,102,856.47 0
South Tipperary County Council 1,917,858.00 1,779,983.00
Waterford County Council 2,236,748.00 0
Westmeath County Council 2,254,668.36 111,893.00
Wexford County Council 12,540,881.00 12,691,640.00
Wicklow County Council 4,441,806.67 0
Cork City Council 3,608,445.00 7,138,373.00
Dublin City Council 33,522,893.00 72,921,411.00
Galway City Council 4,770,532.79 6,351,689.99
Limerick City Council 1,601,537.89 724,104.11
Waterford City Council 924,236.10 0
Clonmel Borough Council 433,968.53 1,223,941.63
Drogheda Borough Council 4,446,077.00 290,290.00
Kilkenny Borough Council 2,692,546.18 0
Sligo Borough Council 1,424,462.77 258,885.68
Wexford Borough Council 2,843,585.00 0
Arklow Town Council 2,202,522.40 0
Athlone Town Council 4,691,573.42 1,000,000.00
Athy Town Council 57,398.63 3,679,339.22
Ballina Town Council 511,035.22 0
Ballinasloe Town Council 744,169.79 1,131,250.81
Birr Town Council 950,892.00 0
Bray Town Council 682,843.00 0
Buncrana Town Council 178,661.15 0
Bundoran Town Council 155,757.08 0
Carlow Town Council 1,556,546.85 3,003,563.23
Carrick on Suir Town Council 172,336.96 751,677.36
Carrickmacross Town Council 19,700.01 60,135.32
Cashel Town Council 91,050.90 104,323.32
Castlebar Town Council 906,391.38 0
Castleblayney Town Council 366,865.00 0
Cavan Town Council 150,000.00 640,325.46
Clonakilty Town Council 728,493.00 0
Clones Town Council 30,955.00 0
Cobh Town Council 164,756.00 0
Dundalk Town Council 1,542,054.25 9,151,711.96
Dungarvan Town Council 244,327.07 0
Ennis Town Council 1,067,342.92 0
Enniscorthy Town Council 160,805.00 276,412.00
Fermoy Town Council 114,426.00 0
Kells Town Council 118,395.83 0
Killarney Town Council 346,138.46 0
Kilrush Town Council 8,829.84 0
Kinsale Town Council 291,157.00 0
Letterkenny Town Council 833,471.24 0
Listowel Town Council 124,014.95 0
Longford Town Council 2,311,823.49 1,054,000.00
Macroom Town Council 578,513.00 0
Mallow Town Council 668,802.00 0
Midleton Town Council 256,358.00 0
Monaghan Town Council 1,160,101.90 71,610.00
Naas Town Council 1,245,744.51 572,926.98
Navan Town Council 503,100.22 0
Nenagh Town Council 778,951.00 0
New Ross Town Council 538,059.00 235,180.00
Skibbereen Town Council 207,114.00 0
Templemore Town Council 0 0
Thurles Town Council 1,317,327.99 618,073.00
Tipperary Town Council 490,576.81 5,849.60
Tralee Town Council 707,133.00 0
Trim Town Council 330,063.44 0
Tullamore Town Council 89,394.00 59,665.20
Westport Town Council 611,780.93 0
Wicklow Town Council 733,069.46 0
Youghal Town Council 391,265.00 0
- 438,804,210.50 312,483,594.87

Planning Issues

 138. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his attention has been drawn to a situation occurring whereby individuals manipulate the planning process by constantly submitting planning objections and just before they are refused permission withdraw them, then resubmit them and so on in an effort to delay an application being formally refused; his views on this practice and also the use of the retention application in the planning process which enables persons to develop structures without permission and then seek to retain them; the purpose of this; if he will review its use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13177/13]

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 facility for any member of the public to participate in the planning process by making an observation or a submission on a planning application is a fundamental and long-standing feature of the planning system in this country. In the Planning and Development Act 2000 increased rights were given to third parties in that planning authorities are statutorily obliged to acknowledge submissions on planning applications and to consider those submissions before making decisions on the applications. Persons who make submissions are also entitled to be notified of any new information provided, and to be notified of the decision of the planning authority. These increased rights were introduced in tandem with the €20 fee for making a submission or observation, the aim of which was to contribute to the increasing costs for planning authorities in administering the development consent system, while not discouraging public participation in the process.

  In relation to planning appeals, the position is that any person who made a submission on the planning application may appeal the decision of a planning authority on the application to An Bord Pleanála, the independent statutory appeals board. There is, however, also a fee for making an appeal - currently €220. When an appeal is made to An Bord Pleanála any person may make a submission on it for a fee of €50.

  It should also be noted that the Board has discretion to dismiss an appeal where it is satisfied the appeal is vexatious, frivolous or without substance or foundation or where the appeal is made with the sole intention of delaying development or of securing the payment of money, gifts, considerations or other inducement by any persons.

Planning legislation therefore permits a person to make observations, or appeal the decision, in relation to any number of planning applications (subject of course to the payment of the appropriate fee). However I do not see that is any reason to amend the current provisions.

  The views of third parties are part of the planning process and, in any case, are only one of the matters considered by a planning authority when considering the planning application. In making decisions on planning applications, planning authorities, and An Bord Pleanála on appeal, must consider the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to a number of matters including the provisions of the development plan, any submissions or observations received and relevant Ministerial or Government policies, including any guidelines issued by my Department.

  In relation to retention permission, under the Planning Acts all development, unless specifically exempted under the Acts or associated Regulations, requires planning permission. Any development that is carried out without planning permission, or that does not comply with the terms of a planning permission, is unauthorised development, and may be subject to enforcement action by a planning authority.

  Planning authorities have substantial enforcement powers and duties under the Planning Acts. A planning authority must issue a warning letter in relation to written complaints regarding unauthorised development, or other unauthorised development it becomes aware of (except in the case of trivial or minor development). There is also a statutory obligation to carry out an investigation and expeditiously decide whether an enforcement notice should be issued or a court order should be sought, under section 160 of the 2000 Act. Where a planning authority establishes, following an investigation, that unauthorised development (other than development that is of a trivial or minor nature) has been or is being carried out, and the person who has carried out the development has not proceeded to remedy the position, then the planning authority must issue an enforcement notice or seek a court order, unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so.

  An application for retention permission is required to be assessed by a planning authority in the same way as any other application, that is the planning authority is required to consider the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to the provisions of the development plan, any submissions or observations received and relevant Ministerial or Government policies, including any guidelines issued by my Department.


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