Dáil Éireann - Volume 450 - 22 March, 1995

Written Answers. - Bitumen Costs.

118. Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the increase in the price of bitumen since 1994 as against 1995 prices; and the additional resources, if any, he will provide for local authorities in order that this price increase does not impact on the total mileage of roads to be surface dressed. [6028/95]

119. Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for the Environment if bitumen used in road construction is tendered for nationally to Government; and the price [1850] accepted in each of the years 1994 and 1995. [6035/95]

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Howlin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 119 together.

The Local Authorities (Combined Purchasing) Act, 1939, which provided for a centralised system for obtaining quotations and the appointment of contractors by the Minister for the Environment for the supply of commodities, including bituminous products, to local authorities was repealed with effect from 1 July 1994 in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1994.

Arrangements for acquiring bituminous products are now matters for each local authority. I understand, however, that authorities are at present availing of the services of the National Roads Authority which is operating a centralised tendering system for such products. It is a matter for each local authority to determine to what extent it avails of these arrangements.

It has not been the practice to publish information in relation to bitumen prices submitted by successful tenderers in view of the need to maintain competitive tendering and the possible implications for prices to be submitted for supplies in the future. I do not consider that it would be appropriate to publish such information now.

I have allocated all the funds available to me for non-national roads in 1995, apart from a small reserve for bridge strengthening works which will be allocated to eligible projects under the EU co-financed scheme of specific grants. It is a matter for each local authority to prepare its road-works programme, having regard to the grant allocations, the own resources provision, and the cost of the various materials and other inputs.