Dáil Éireann - Volume 529 - 06 February, 2001
Written Answers. - Planning Law.
Mr. Kenneally Mr. Kenneally
191. Mr. Kenneally asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the person or group to whom An Bord Pleanála is answerable; if An Bord Pleanála is allowed to seek additional information from an applicant when considering a planning application and then base a decision on that additional information despite the fact that this information was not available to the local authority when making its decision nor were local residents given the opportunity to object to this; the liability it has if water becomes polluted as a result of a decision of An Bord Ple anála; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3142/01]
Mr. Dempsey Mr. Dempsey
Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Dempsey): An Bord Pleanála is a statutory independent body established under section 3 of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1976, with responsibility for the determination of appeals, references and certain other matters, including appeals in relation to licences under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts, 1977 and 1990. Section 11(5) of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1983, provides that the board shall, subject to compliance with planning legislation, regulate its own procedure and business. However, the 1983 Act provides that the Minister may require the board to keep him informed of the arrangements it makes for the regulation of its procedure and business. The Minister is statutorily prohibited from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which the board is or may be concerned. Like other semi-State bodies, the board is required to submit its accounts, having first been audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and an annual report to the appropriate Minister, in this case the Minister for the Environment and Local Government. These are then laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. The board's 1999 annual report and accounts were recently laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. In addition, the chairman of An Bord Pleanála has, on occasion, appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Local Government.
The board was established to give independent consideration of planning authorities' decisions on planning applications. In considering an appeal, the board considers all submissions on the file together with the inspector's report and recommendation and determines the case as if the application had been made to it in the first place. Under sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1992, the board may seek further information or documentation from any party to an appeal or any person who made submissions or observations on an appeal and may determine the appeal having regard to any such information or documentation submitted. In cases where additional information is received and the board considers it necessary in the interest of natural justice, any such documentation received is made available to all the parties to the appeal.
Any issue of liability arising from a decision of the board is a matter for the courts. However, planning permission on its own is not necessarily enough for a development to proceed. Any forms of development likely to give rise to significant environmental pollution will also require an appropriate licence from the relevant pollution control authority.
Dáil Éireann 529 Written Answers. Planning Law.