Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly, has announced he is initiating an in-depth operational review of state planning body, An Bord Pleanala.#
An Bord Pleanala (ABP) is an independent body established initially under the Planning and Development Act 1976 which is responsible for the determination of planning appeals and certain other matters under planning legislation, including the assessment and determination of applications for strategic infrastructure development such as major roads, railways, electricity transmission lines etc, as well as proposals for the development of Strategic Development Zones (SDZs).
It is also responsible for dealing with proposals for the compulsory acquisition of land by local authorities and others under various enactments.
Minister Kelly is currently recruiting a team of experts to conduct a full in-depth and independent review of An Bord Pleanala and terms of reference are being drawn up by the Department of Environment.
“We need to see more transparency, consistency and for the public to have a better understanding of the Bord’s decisions. Now is an opportune time to initiate such a review From an organisational perspective we need to make sure it is appropriately positioned and fit for purpose to meet a changing planning landscape,” said Minister Kelly.
The review will have regard to –
– The anticipated increase in construction activity and related volume of planning applications and appeals in the coming years as we move from fragile recovery to sustained economic renewal.
– The systems, procedures and administrative practices
– The decision-making process in determining planning appeals and applications.
– The communication with both the public and elected representatives.
– The proposed changes to the planning system, both legislative and structural, including the establishment of the Office of the Planning Regulator.
“Planning is a major issue for rural Ireland and if construction activity is increasing then we need to make sure our planning authorities are equipped to deal with it. There are many aspects of the planning system which work very well, but there is a lack of consistency in decision making and priorities in different areas.
“Now is the time to make sure we have the balance right. There will be no change in the independent status of An Bord Pleanala, but we have to ensure we have the appropriate mix of strategic national planning, that is sensitive to community needs and that allows us to take advantage economically of increased construction activity,”