Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 17 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

144. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the reason for the level of resourcing of Clare County Council whereby the local authority considers it is no [832] longer in a position to fulfil its statutory obligations, as listed in the Air Pollution Act, 1987, to investigate complaints of air emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24546/01]

145. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if resources will come on stream to enable the local authority in County Clare to fulfil its statutory obligations in relation to air emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24548/01]

146. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the plans he has to make extra resources available to Clare County Council to fulfil its statutory obligations under the Air Pollution Act, 1987; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24550/01]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. D. Wallace): I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 to 146, inclusive, together.

Under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, primary responsibility for the control of air pollution rests with local authorities. I am aware, from table 2.2 in the National Air Quality Monitoring Report – EPA 2000 – that Clare County Council operates three monitoring stations for smoke and sulphur dioxide in the county, and from table 5.4 in the “Preliminary Assessment [of National Air Quality] under Article 5 of Council Directive 96/62/EC” – EPA 2001 – that a total of four sites in the county are monitored for sulphur dioxide. Copies of these reports are in the Oireachtas Library. I am also aware that the county council carries out additional monitoring as occasion requires.

It is a matter for each local authority to determine the level of expenditure on individual local services as part of its annual estimates process. Such expenditure is funded from a variety of sources such as rates, fees, charges and the local government fund, which has increased substantially the level of resources available to local authorities for general purposes, including monitoring and control of air pollution, and investigating complaints about emissions to air.

In recent years the funding that my Department has made available specifically to Clare County Council from the local government fund has been greatly increased. The general purpose allocation to council this year will be over £7.1 million which represents an increase of 23% over its allocation for 2000 and 45% over its 1999 baseline.