The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has announced funding of €44,000 for local biodiversity projects in North County Dublin. Fingal County Council has been allocated €44,000 under the Local Biodiversity Action Fund (LBAF).
€15,000 has been allocated for the restoration of three acres of wetland at the St. Itas Wetlands local nature reserve near Portrane. A further €15,000 has been allocated for the installation of fencing in Turvey Nature Park to expand the area for grazing and reduce disturbance by dogs to wildlife in the park. €6,000 has been allocated for the preparation of a biodiversity plan for the Howth Golf course and €8,000 has been allocated to provide for further research on the ecology and movements of Herring gulls in Balbriggan.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Fingal County Council are real trailblazers when it comes to biodiversity and I’m delighted that this work is being recognised through my Department’s Local Biodiversity Action Fund.
“The funding provided will have a real and tangible impact and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time. Each of these projects compliment and support the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan, the new draft of which is currently out for public consultation. The closing date for submissions as part of the public consultation is November 9th so I would really encourage anyone who wants their voice to be heard to make a submission at: www.gov.ie/biodiversityplan,” he concluded.
Marking the anniversary, Minister O’Brien TD, said:
“When we launched Housing for All our aim was that everyone should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place. We backed that with a guaranteed over €4 billion a year in housing investment and a series of actions to deliver 300,000 new homes by 2030, including 90,000 social homes and 54,000 affordable homes. While there’s a lot of work still to do, we can see already, after the first 12 months that the plan is working in Fingal and across the country.”
Among the measures and impacts in Fingal arising from Housing for All are:
Other key measures delivered through Housing for All that benefit the people Fingal include; A new expanded Local authority Home Loan; the launch of the First Home Scheme; significant funding made available by Government to assist local authority affordable housing delivery, for purchase and rent, through the Affordable Housing Fund; the roll out of Cost Rental homes; a revised cap on any rent increase and legislation on tenancies of unlimited duration; the introduction of a Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant (through Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund) to incentivise the refurbishment of vacant homes in Fingal; a new National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability; a reformed planning process for large-scale developments in Fingal and elsewhere meaning greater certainty, clarity and public participation in our planning system.
Minister O’Brien also marked actions which are currently under way and which would greatly assist in meeting the overall objectives of Housing for All including the work underway on a new tax to activate vacant land zoned for housing, commencing in 2024. Measures to increase construction sector capacity in Fingal, including greater investment to increase the availability of apprenticeships and training, international recruitment initiatives and the new 'Future Building' initiative to spearhead activation and recruitment for the sector. A number of significant measures to accelerate research and innovation in the sector, including Enterprise Ireland's new Built to Innovate Fund, a €5m investment for the establishment of a new Construction Technology Centre, and the turning the sod on a new Modern Methods of Construction Demonstration Park.
Commenting on the role of local authorities in delivering housing in Fingal, Minister O’Brien said:
“Fingal County Council is playing a central role in delivering housing in the county. Over the past 12 months, the Government has provided resources and funding to the council to help it deliver for people in Fingal. We’ve recently issued guidelines to Fingal County Council on the making of their county development plan to ensure it takes into account projected housing need so that sufficient new homes can be built in key areas of housing demand. We have also streamlined the processes for the procurement of social housing.”
Minister O’Brien also commented on progress made in putting sustainability at the heart of housing:
“Compact growth has to be at the heart of housing provision and planning. Higher population densities will have upshots such as minimal transport demand and shorter travel distances. Since Housing for All was launched, we have made progress in developing legislation to introduce Land Value Sharing and a new concept, Urban Development Zones. These are key reforms in land management and planning, which will result in compact growth and curbs on land speculation.”
Concluding he said, “I know there are massive challenges in the area of housing and Government know that people are struggling. The initiatives and schemes which we have introduced, in less than twelve months, will work for people,” he concluded.