Dáil Éireann - Volume 600 - 13 April, 2005

Written Answers. - Local Authority Housing.

  277. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the total land bank available for housing in the ownership of the various local authorities throughout the country; the total acreage of land utilised for housing purposes in the past seven years; the extent to which the housing need has been addressed through this land bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11435/05]

[978]   Mr. N. Ahern: My Department does not have information on the total amount of land utilised for housing purposes in the past seven years. For the past number of years my Department has monitored overall levels of zoned residential lands. The results of the sixth national inventory of such land indicated that there were 12,500 hectares of serviced residential land as at 30 June 2004. This would give an estimated yield of 367,000 housing units.

Information was also returned at the time of the 2004 survey on lands in local authority ownership which could be used for housing. However, the information is incomplete, and my Department is not satisfied that in its present form it gives the overall picture on this issue. My Department intends to obtain more detailed and further information as part of the 2005 survey on this aspect.

The above data will only afford a picture of lands available at a point in time. Our focus over the past number of years has been to encourage local authorities to acquire sufficient land to meet the needs of their housing programmes and this has been facilitated through borrowing. In total €438 million has been borrowed between 2000 and 2004 from the Housing Finance Agency for land acquisition purposes. No local authority has been refused approval to acquire land for housing purposes.

Recently, my Department has urged local authorities to acquire adequate land to meet the social and affordable housing needs as set out in their five-year action plans. We will continue to support borrowing for such land acquisition where it is necessary and appropriate.

  278. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the total acreage provided through the various local authorities to voluntary agencies in the past seven years; the number of housing units provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11438/05]

  Mr. N. Ahern: Available information on the number of units provided in each local authority area in respect of the voluntary housing schemes is published in my Department’s quarterly and annual housing statistics bulletins. Copies of the bulletins, including September 2004, are available in the Oireachtas Library and the information contained in the bulletins is also available on the Departments website at www.environ.ie.