NEW BILL TO PROVIDE BLUEPRINT ON IRELAND’S PLANNING REFORMS

Jan 2, 2024 | Featured Articles, Uncategorized

Reforms in Ireland’s planning system are now afoot following government approval of the Planning and Development Bill 2023, after a comprehensive review. The proposed legislation aims to bring greater clarity, certainty and consistency on how planning decisions are made, and to make the system more coherent and user-friendly.

The new Planning and Development Bill 2023 represents the largest reshaping of the planning system in Ireland in almost 25 years since the Planning and Development Act 2000 was enacted. As of 30 November 2023, the Bill has completed the Second Stage through Dáil Eireann.

It is the culmination of a 15-month review by the Office of the Attorney General and extensive stakeholder engagement, to ensure that it is fit to serve the planning systems and meet today’s challenges and those to come in future decades.

The Bill will be enacted on a phased basis, alongside supports and resources for the planning sector and the public to support a smooth transition to the new system. It contains several changes from the Draft Bill published in January 2023, which includes more detail on statutory mandatory timelines for consent processes.

It also introduces a significantly revised corporate structure for An Bord Pleanála (ABP), which will be renamed An Coimisiún Pleanála (ACP) with a separation of corporate, decision making and governance functions.

The lifespan of development plans will be extended from six to ten years, with a review after the fifth year, and they will be more strategic in nature. The cycles of these plans will align to the cycle of Census data availability, to be reviewed by local elected members every five years.

The Bill will also reform aspects of planning judicial review, such as the removal of leave for application; refinement of grounds; clarification of sufficient interest and the introduction of a new Environmental Legal Cost Scheme. The Bill builds upon the review undertaken by the Office of the Attorney General and scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Housing of the Draft Bill published early 2023.

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