Dáil Éireann - Volume 344 - 07 July, 1983

Written Answers. - Roads Expenditure.

230. Mr. Leonard asked the Minister for the Environment if he will press for a change in EEC Regulation No. 1820/80 so that the approximate annual allocation of £.78 million for farm roads and £.72 million for county roads can be used for the improvement of accommodation roads under the local improvement schemes.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Spring): Under the terms of Regulation No. 1820/80, which governs the implementation of the western package, assistance amounting to £19 million approximately over a ten-year period is available towards the cost of improving farm roads and agricultural roads. In accordance with a programme submitted by the Government to the EEC and approved by that body, approximately £0.78 million annually is available for farm roads and £0.72 million for county roads used mainly for agriculture and forestry. A further £0.4 million is available for on-farm and forestry roads.

To fulfil this programme the local improvements scheme was adapted in 1981 under which the benefiting counties are required to spend specific sums on eligible farm road projects. Such projects would in any event have qualified as accommodation roads under the former arrangements for the local improvements scheme as most accommodation roads are farm roads. Similarly, the general road allocation (block grants) have since 1981 included sums specifically to finance a programme of works on eligible county roads. Schemes to absorb the remaining [2193] £0.4 million are dealt with by other Departments.

I do not propose to seek any changes in the existing arrangements at this stage.