Leitrim TD's amendment allowing discharge licences for one-off houses has been introduced to Oireachtas Committee

This amendment to the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 will allow the minister to design and regulate a discharge licence which would be issued by local authorities for one-off houses where the percolation test fails.

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

What will happen if the inn closes for Christmas?

Deputy Martin Kenny has introduced the amendment aimed at finding a solution to the current planning impasse in Leitrim.

Sligo-Leitirm TD, Martin Kenny has introduced his amendment to the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977. The amendment, if passed, will allow the minister to design and regulate a discharge licence which would be issued by local authorities for one-off houses, where the percolation test fails.

Deputy Kenny said: “The issue of under-population and a decreasing population the North West, is a long-term and insidious blight on my own county of Leitrim and in other parts of the region.

“There are many reasons for this: we need jobs, we need infrastructure and we need transport, but while we fight for all that, we want, too, to hold onto what we have. This bill is designed to tackle a situation where young families who want to stay in rural Ireland but who cannot get planning permission to build homes there," he said.

“The nature of the soil in parts of this region means that the standard T-test, the percolation test will not be passed. Therefore, there must be zero discharge of effluent, no matter how efficient the waste water treatment systems are," pointed out Deputy Kenny.

He said: “The achievement of zero discharge is impossible in these areas, but it is possible in this day and age to install a system which will mean that the waste water produced will be bathing water standard. This amendment to the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 will allow the minister to design and regulate a discharge licence which would be issued by local authorities for one-off houses where the percolation test fails.

“If discharge licences are granted in an appropriate and proportionate way, there is no danger to the environment from this amendment," he said.