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Fourth Progress Report of the Cross-Departmental Team on Infrastructure and PPPs


Progress Report Overview

The NDP involves investment of €52 billion 2000 2006 (in constant 1999 prices). It is the largest and most ambitious investment programme ever drawn up in Ireland, combining a programme of physical infrastructure, social infrastructure and investment in human resources. Over half of the Plans expenditure is on infrastructure, including roads, public transport, housing, environmental services (water, waste water, waste treatment), health and education capital projects. Public Private Partnerships are a key element of the implementation strategy, with an indicative target of €2.35 billion in private financing.

Non-NDP investment (both public and private sectors funds) is also significant in areas such as electricity, telecommunications and industrial development. Regarding the electricity transmission and distribution networks, ESB and Eirgrid accelerated their programme of projects for network improvements during 2001 and significantly ramped up their capital expenditure. This increased level of expenditure is scheduled to continue up to 2005.

This unprecedented level of activity and investment presents a major challenge to our institutions at Government and implementation agency level. The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure and PPPs is in place to ensure cohesion and co-ordinated delivery across the administrative system. It is supported in its work by a Cross-Department Team - the role of which is to co-ordinate action and act to remove blockages. The approach taken by the Team has been to work with lead Departments and implementation agencies to monitor progress against targets, identify blockages and ensure timely and co-ordinated interventions to resolve any difficulties emerging. The principal achievements in delivery of the NDP and other key national infrastructure priorities during 2001 are set out in detail throughout this Report.

During 2001, the Team continued to focus on the key priorities originally identified for its work: the core national roads network and public transport in Dublin. Excellent progress was made in these areas during the year, notwithstanding the continued effects of capacity constraints, as reflected in a worrying level of inflation in the construction sector. The Team has developed good working relationships with the National Roads Authority, the CIÉ group of companies, the DTO, the ESB and Eirgrid and Bord Gais Éireann. Ongoing dialogue with the implementation agencies is important to ensure that any blockages emerging are identified and appropriate action taken at an early stage to remove them. The Team will continue to work with the implementation agencies and lead Departments to monitor progress and maintain momentum on the NDP objectives.

Institutional reform in the public transport sector and in land use and transport planning in the Greater Dublin Area were a particular focus of the Teams work, as was the development of proposals to streamline the planning process for large-scale infrastructure network projects. The Team also contributed during 2001 to the development of the National Spatial Strategy.

During 2001, the Team turned its attention also to infrastructure areas emerging as priorities, including energy infrastructure, waste management and broadband telecommunications. These will continue to receive sustained attention during 2002. The Working Groups report on Broadband Telecommunications was accepted by Government in March 2002 as the basis for a Government Action Plan with three and five year targets. The Working Group will work with D/Public Enterprise during 2002 to ensure co-ordinated and timely implementation.

An effective Communications Strategy is an important element in building public awareness of and support for the NDP and 2001 recorded very good progress in this area. The launch of the NDP website (http://www.ndp.ie/ ), which enhanced visibility of the NDP logo, and the completion of a public awareness research survey were particular highlights in the successful implementation of the Communications Strategy by the CSF/NDP Information Unit.

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