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Last edited 04 Feb 2021
Republic of Ireland updates to planning and development
The Planning and Development Act 2018 has been passed and will be enacted in stages. This Act introduces a planning regulator, raises the levies on derelict/vacant sites, gives planning authorities more responsibility in relation to the granting of liquor licenses, introduces a Register of Developers who do not complete developments satisfactorily and adds some new definitions, including that of multi-occupancy dwellings. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has set up a new website: ‘Myplan.ie’ – a planning information service.
 Key aspects of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018
Of note is that the following amendments to the extension of duration of permissions under Section 42 of the Principal Act come into operation on the passing of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018, which was signed into law on 19 July 2018:
- In the event of an application to extend the duration of a permission where substantial works have been carried out, the Planning Authority must be satisfied that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Appropriate Assessment (AA), or both were, or were not required, before the permission was granted.
- A decision to extend the appropriate period shall not be made more than twice. Where a second decision to extent an appropriate period is made, the combined duration of the two extensions of the appropriate period shall not exceed five years.
The principle amendments to the Principal Act are the establishment and operation of the Office of the Planning Regulator; the inclusion of provisions for the National Planning Framework; and the inclusion of provisions for Marine Spatial Plans. These are subject to a Ministerial Order(s) prior to commencement.
- Section 4 of the Principal Act (exempted development) is amended to specify that the construction, maintenance or improvement of a private road (other than a public road) serving a forest or woodland can be considered exempted development except where access is provided to a national road within the meaning of the Roads Act 1993.
- Section 7(e) of the Principal Act (planning register) is amended to include such further points of detail as are agreed, or deemed to have been agreed, under section 34(5), between the planning authority and the person carrying out the development’.
- Section 33 of the Principal Act (regulations regarding applications for permission) provides for a waiver or reduction or a different fee in respect of submissions or observations for Members of a local authority. It also provides for the making and processing by electronic means of planning applications, appeals, payment of fees, etc, as well as requiring the inputting of data by planning authorities into such databases or national planning systems as may be prescribed by the Minister.
- Section 34 of the Principal Act (permission for development) includes provision for the planning authority to have regard to previous developments by the applicant which have not been satisfactorily completed, as well as previous convictions against the applicant for non-compliance with the Principal Act, the Building Control Act or the Fire Services Act. This Section is also to include provisions for the planning authority in the case of residential developments of 10 or more houses, to have regard to information concerning implementation by the applicant of any housing development in the previous five years, and an assessment of the likelihood of the proposed development being implemented within the appropriate period sought. This Section is also to include provision for the planning authority to a) reach agreement with the person, or (b) either (i) advise the person in writing that they cannot agree, or (ii) refer the matter to the Board for its determination, in respect of points of detail on planning conditions within eight weeks (or such longer period as may be agreed). In respect of (b)(i), the person may refer the matter to the Board within four weeks.
- Section 35 of the Principal Act (refusal of planning permission for past failures to comply) has been extended to include registered societies under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893-2014.
- Section 41 of the Principal Act (power to vary appropriate period) is amended to provide for power to specify the period during which the permission is to have effect, being a period of (a) not less than two years and (b) in the case of residential development, of not more than 10 years. Where an application relates to residential development comprising 10 or more houses, a planning authority may have regard to any information available to it concerning the implementation by the applicant of any housing development in the previous five years, as well as an assessment of the likelihood of the permission being implemented within the period sought.
- A new Section 44A is inserted in the Principal Act to provide for the revocation or modification of planning permission. The Minister may, upon the request of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or the Minister of Defence, and with the approval of Government, make an order revoking, or modifying a grant of permission, whether granted before, on or after the passing of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018, but not if the period exceeds five years, if they are satisfied that the granted permission is likely to be harmful to (i) the security or defence of the State or (ii) the State’s relations with other states and that the revocation or modification is necessary in the public interest. The notice served will require the cessation of development and the restoration of the land. Any development carried out in contravention of an order shall be unauthorised development. There is provision to revoke an order.
- Section 247 (consultations in relation to proposed development) is amended to include provision for at least one pre-planning consultation for development of (i) more than 10 housing units (to include Part V) or non-residential development of more than 1,000 square metres gross floor space, or (ii) such other development as may be prescribed. Such consultations shall be held within four weeks of the date of receipt of a request for a meeting, unless extended by a specified period. The failure of the planning authority to comply shall not prevent an applicant from making a planning application. Regulations may be made with respect to this procedure. Gross floor space is clarified as meaning the internal measurement of the floor space on each floor of a building (including internal walls and partitions), disregarding any floor space provided for the parking of vehicles.
- The First Schedule of the Principal Act is amended to include provision for an objective regulating, restricting or controlling the development of licensed premises within the meaning of the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011. Note that this amendment takes effect in respect of a new development plan after the passing of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018.
- The Fourth Schedule of the Principal Act is amended in respect of an application for permission from an applicant associated with a previous development which:
- (a) has not been satisfactorily completed or
- (b) which has not been taken in charge because the estate has not been completed to the satisfaction of the local authority, as a non-compensatory reason for refusal. This applies whether or not it was within the functional area of the planning authority to which the proposed development relates.
- The Seventh Schedule of the Principal Act is amended to include communications and data infrastructure in one or more structure(s), the combined gross floor space of which exceeds 10,000 square metres, and the provision of associated electricity connections infrastructure.
- Part 5 of the Derelict Sites Act is also amended to provide for the derelict sites levy (3% of the market value of the urban land concerned, increasing to 7% in 2020 and any subsequent financial year).
Section 5 (iii) of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act, 2015 is amended by Section 63 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018, to include the following in the definition of a vacant site:
- (iii) the site, or the majority of the site is:
- Vacant or idle, or
- Being used for a purpose that does not consist solely or primarily of the provision of housing or the development of the site for the purpose of such provision, provided that the most recent purchase of the site occurred:
Eoghan Murphy T.D, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has, on 30 August 2018, published updated guidelines for planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála on carrying out environmental impact assessment.
The publication of the Guidelines coincides with the coming into operation on 1 September 2018 of most of the provisions of the European Union (Planning and Development) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2018), which were signed by Minister Murphy on 26 July 2018. These Regulations transpose the requirements of Directive 2014/52/EU, amending previous Directive 2011/52/EU, on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (the EIA Directive) into planning law.
- Reduced administrative burdens, through the use of joint or coordinated procedures when Appropriate Assessment is required;
- The broadening of environmental factors to be considered in the assessment – population and human health, resource efficiency, climate change, biodiversity and disaster prevention;
- Strengthened screening procedures to determine whether EIA is required in respect of development consent proposals;
- Expansion of the information to be contained in the re-titled Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR);
- A requirement for the developer to employ or engage competent experts to prepare an EIAR and for planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála to have, or have access to, sufficient expertise to examine such reports;
- Decisions of planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála on development proposals must include a reasoned conclusion on the significant effects of the project on the environment;
- Enhanced requirements for public access to information, including by electronic means;
- Requirements to put arrangements in place to avoid, prevent or reduce and, if possible, offset significant adverse effects of a proposed development on the environment, including monitoring of these, where appropriate.
- The Guidelines replace previous Guidelines for Planning Authorities and An Bord Pleanála on carrying out environmental impact assessments published in March 2013. The updated Guidelines are issued by the Minister under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, and accordingly planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála are required to have regard to them in determining planning applications and appeals.
 Republic of Ireland Centre Technical Sub-Committee
The Republic of Ireland Centre Technical Sub-Committee is urgently seeking new members who are willing to give a little time to reviewing and commenting on upcoming legislation and regulation affecting architectural technologists in Ireland.
 About this article
This article was provided by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) and was previously published in its AT Journal Issue No 128, Winter 2018-2019. It can be accessed here.
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