Louth County Council have been handed €250,000 to put towards improving non-public rural roads in 2017 , as part of the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS).
On Thursday, the government launched a programme of funding which will see €10 million ploughed into privately owned small rural roads nationwide. Despite Louth being the smallest county by size, it has not received the smallest amount of funding – earning more than Roscommon, Longford and Tipperary.
The LIS Scheme supports improvement works on private and non-public roads that can often lead to multiple residences, parcels of land that support agricultural activity or amenities such as lakes, rivers or the ocean. Through this scheme, the Department of Rural and Community Development will provide a percentage of the funding for improvement, via local authorities, with the remaining contribution coming from local residents.
Speaking at the launch of the programme at the National Ploughing Championships, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was delighted the scheme was providing €10 million nationwide. “It’s a really effective scheme to improve small roads, laneways and boreens which don’t come under the control of local authorities.
“These roads give access to homes, farmyards, agricultural land and business premises, and are often heavily used, but because they fall outside of direct local authority control, many need upgrading.
“It’s only right and fair that some of the motor tax, excise duty on fuel and local property tax paid by people in rural areas is invested in the repair of shared laneways that connect their homes, farms and businesses to the public road network.”
“The Local Improvement Scheme is about improving small roads and laneways in rural Ireland which are not under the normal maintenance of the Local Authorities. For people who live in rural areas, road connectivity is hugely important,” Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said.
“I urge the Local Authorities to implement this programme and spend this money without delay. The upkeep of these roads is of a priority for people who live in rural Ireland. We haven’t been in a position to adequately fund the LIS scheme for the last number of years, but we made a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that we would reinstate the scheme. I am delighted therefore to be in a positon to honour that commitment by allocating these funds.”
Local Independent councillor Jim Tenanty and Fianna Fail TD Declan Breathnach are among those who have previously urged locals to apply for shared funding in regards to non-pubic roads.
Funding is provided for roads and laneways that have not been taken in charge by the local council; the maintenance and improvement of which is a matter for the relevant landowner. A contribution towards improvements must be made by applicants, which will then be added to by LIS.
By allowing a portion of this dfunding to be allocated in this way, road authorities say flexibility is afforded to local communities and to the councils to ensure that surfaces are kept to a high standard, helping to minimise accidents and keep roads and laneways in good working order.
To be eligible, the road on which works are to be carried out must be in private ownership and must:
- Provide access to parcels of land of which at least two are owned or occupied by different persons, or
- Provide access for harvesting purposes (including turf or seaweed) for two or more persons, or shall in the opinion of the road authority by used by the public – definition of such road is a road which may connect two public roads or give access to a beach or commonage and thus serve the local community.