8 October 2014
Question Time - Regional Development - Tuesday 7 October 2014
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy answered questions on a number of matters, including a bus station for Banbridge, cycle paths, and roads maintenance contracts.
Oliver McMullan, Robin Swann, Chris Lyttle and Gregory Campbell asked the Minister questions relating to the Cycle Park Newtowork. The minister stated that he published the draft bicycle strategy for Northern Ireland for a 12-week period of public consultation. An ongoing series of public consultation events will end in the middle of November and includes a number of events in rural areas.
His strategy recognises that there are differences between using a bicycle in an urban area and a rural area. It clearly states that we will continue to make provision for the bicycle in rural areas where opportunities arise, especially where there is demand.
Once the bicycle strategy is finalised, a delivery plan will be prepared. This plan will be subject to a rural-proofing exercise to ensure that the needs of rural communities and areas are considered as part of the policy development process.
Sammy Wilson asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline the value of contracts for roads maintenance that are dependent on additional resources being allocated to his Department in the October 2014 and February 2015 monitoring roaunds. Minister Kennedy replied " The value of my Department's resource contracts for roads maintenance that are dependent on additional resources being allocated is some £12·5 million. The following activities will be affected: footway and carriageway patching; grass cutting and environmental maintenance; gully emptying; repair of street lighting outages; road marking maintenance and renewal; and traffic sign maintenance and replacement.
When bidding in October, a deduction has to be made for the value of work that could be delivered within the available time. The value of the February 2015 bid will largely be dependent on the outcome of October monitoring making further allowances for what could be delivered by the year's end. Roads maintenance works are undertaken by external contractors and my Department's operations and maintenance staff. Therefore, any additional requirement is a combination of what is required to allow my operations and maintenance staff to operate efficiently plus what is required to pay external contractors.
Cycling on Ballymacarrett Walkway, Road Gritting, Flooding in Warrenpoint and DRD Budgetary Pressures were asked to the Minister during the 15 minutes of Topical Questions.