70. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for the roll-out of a strategy for the future development of greenways and rural cycling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17719/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I expect to be in a position to publish the National Greenways Strategy before the end of Q2 2018.

The Strategy will provide a framework for the development of Ireland’s greenways ensuring the best possible return for State investment. Furthermore, the Strategy will determine the type of project that will be funded over the coming decade by my Department and will set out guidance and options for project promoters in relation to the challenges faced in delivering greenway infrastructure. It will also emphasise the need for early and wide consultation with all landowners.

Following completion of the Strategy I will announce a funding call later in 2018 with a view to awarding funding for drawdown between 2019 and 2021 to the successful projects. Given the increased interest in greenways in recent years I expect that there will be a strong response to this funding call. I would again urge local authorities and state agencies interested in applying for funding to progress their planning and design of greenways as far as possible in advance of the funding call.

I was pleased to secure additional funding for greenways last year bringing the total available for the period 2018 to 2021 to €55.9m.