30 April 2022
By Tom Collins
Proposals sought to improve the waste water needs of rural villages in Cork as Minister O’Brien announces new €50 million fund
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien has announced the commencement of a new funding scheme targeting the waste water collection and treatment needs of villages and settlements without access to public waste water services. The scheme is funded by a €50 million commitment under the National Development Plan.
The announcement by the Minister follows the completion of a review of villages and settlements that do not have access to public waste water infrastructure. This work included consultation with stakeholders and a detailed survey completed by local authorities of villages and settlements in their area not serviced by waste water collection and treatment systems.
The scheme will now open to Local Authorities for application and will stay open for applications until September 15th. There will also be an information workshop for Local Authorities.
Local authorities now have the opportunity to develop early and comprehensive applications for funding under this new scheme which will be included in the Department’s overall Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2022-2025. This will allow the villages and settlements that will ultimately be approved for funding to have a real and meaningful prospect of a speedier and successful outcome. It is expected that at least ten demonstration projects will be supported under this first round of funding.
The principal policy drivers of this new initiative are to provide opportunities to support the provision of housing in smaller villages which are not currently serviced by collective waste water treatment systems, while reducing the risk to public health and preventing water pollution.
The Minister said, “The improved waste water services will enable local authorities to work in partnership with the community to enable villages and settlements to be better places to live, work and visit, to support overall Government objectives under Housing for All and give practical effect to our vision for a vibrant rural Ireland under Our Rural Future.”
This new measure will provide 85% exchequer funding through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, with the remaining 15% in funding coming from the relevant local authority.
The Minister also said: “I am delighted to be in a position to allocate funding to allow this important work to be progressed in rural areas, providing a boost to local economies and allowing for sustainable development through compact growth, including housing that is proportionate to the village”.
The first phase of funding will focus on areas of most need based on housing and environmental criteria. Local authorities are now being invited to submit proposals for consideration for funding under this new measure.