Gormley announces extra €23.4m for local authorities


Mr. John Gormley, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, has announced a special allocation of €23.4 million from his Department under the Local Government Fund.

The purpose of the allocation is to help local authorities both with running costs on their most recently-provided water and sewerage treatment plants and to help authorities carry out the necessary water and wastewater sampling to meet standards.

Earlier this year, the Minister made record general purposes grants approaching €1 billion available to local authorities from the Local Government Fund.

Recent years have seen record levels of investment in new water services infrastructure. There is also growing emphasis on meeting and enforcing quality standards, as reflected in new Drinking Water and Wastewater Discharge Licensing Regulations introduced in 2007.

“The new infrastructure and improved water and wastewater treatment standards are key steps towards ensuring that Ireland’s drinking water and water in the environment are of the highest quality" - said the Minister.

€10 million from the €23.4 million package will directly contribute towards local authorities’ operation and maintenance costs on recently-completed water and wastewater treatment plants. The balance of €13.4 million will be used to offset other expenses - including sampling costs to establish compliance with drinking water and wastewater effluent standards and licence applications to the Environmental Protection Agency for wastewater discharges.

It will also compensate local authorities for the special transitional water charging arrangements agreed by the Government earlier this year for schools, pending introduction of volumetric charges in 2010.

“The €10 million allocation towards the cost of operating new treatment plants is double what was provided in 2007” - the Minister said. He added that he was also providing an extra €13.4 million this year for quality sampling by local authorities to establish compliance with national and EU standards for drinking water and wastewater effluent.

“Allocations have been weighted towards local authorities who are meeting their sampling obligations” - the Minister said. “I will expect all authorities to act responsibly and efficiently and, in future, to prioritise their own resources towards achieving high standards to protect public health and preserve water quality in our rivers, lakes and seas.”

To download a Table showing the proposed allocations - Click Here