The need for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to reduce the level of contribution required from local communities in the proposed new community involvement scheme

12/05/2012
Question Posed To: 
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each
local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on
those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants. The
initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
The main focus of each County Council’s roads programme are the Restoration Maintenance and
Improvement Programmes, which deal with the maintenance and improvement of regional and local
roads. In the normal course of a County Council’s road works programme, repairs to minor county
roads would only be considered towards the end of the programme after more heavily trafficked
routes had been dealt with and the purpose of the community involvement scheme is to permit local
participation in the repair of roads.
All local authorities were issued a circular in 1994 requesting them to investigate the potential to
promote and harness community support for road works in their areas. Typically, community support
has involved activities such as minor road works and drainage or a financial contribution towards road
works.
In this way, if there are particular problems affecting a given stretch of road and if the local
community are willing to assist the local authority (in money or kind) with the necessary works, then
such roads can be improved sooner than would otherwise be the case. As such, the scheme recognises
local community involvement in this area, without in any way taking from the statutory
responsibilities of county councils. .
The statutory underpinning for local community involvement in road works is provided in the Roads
Act, 1993. Section 13(6) of the Act provides that a person, or group of persons, may with the consent
of the road authority carry out maintenance and improvement works on a local road.
The sub-section also provides that a road authority may provide materials, plant, equipment and the
services of its staff to a person or group carrying out such works and that the person or group are
indemnified by the authority against all actions and claims arising in respect of the works, provided
the works are carried out in a bona fide manner and in accordance with any conditions, restrictions or
requirements specified by the authority.,
In previous years, local authorities were permitted to set aside up to 7.5% of their Restoration
Programme grants for Community Involvement Scheme works on regional and local roads, Under
that scheme the community contribution (in money or kind), could not be less- than 25% of the cost of
the works. In practice such works were usually only carried out on cul-de-sac local tertiary roads.
This year my Department is launching a new pilot Community Involvement Scheme. This new
scheme will be based on contributions within the range of 2O% to 50%.

Where the local contribution is monetary only, the local contribution will be 20%. Where the
majority of works are to be undertaken by the Council, the local contribution will be 30%. Should the
majority of works be undertaken by the local community, the local contribution will be 40% and
where all works are to be undertaken by the local community with the local authority contributing by
way of materials or machinery then the local contribution will be 50%. In the latter case no cash
contribution would be required from th community.
The local authority will take into account the length, width and condition of the road, the number of
dwellings along the road and will then estimate the overall cost of each scheme taking account of
material, labour, machinery and traffic management costs. From this the local authority will .
determine the loèal contribution, make a priority list of projects and then apply to my Department for
funding.
This method of calculating the local contribution is deemed the most fair and equitable manner in
which to proceed, It is a fact that the funding available for the maintenance and improvement of
regional and local roads will be reduced significantly over the next few years and it will not be
possible to provide the full funding required for these less trafficked routes :
It should also be noted that the Community Involvement in Road Works Scheme is purely a voluntary
scheme and local communities will not be forced into participating. This scheme is available to give
local communities the opportunity to have these works completed where they would not normally be
considered for funding.