Dáil Éireann - Volume 640 - 31 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Planning Issues.

Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on amending the relevant legislation in order to require developers to consult with local residents before applying for planning permission for a significant development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26149/07]

  Deputy John Gormley: Under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 — 2006, any person or body is entitled to participate in the planning process; the process provides for third party participation at all stages i.e. forward planning, development management, and appeals stages. Ireland is one of the few EU Member States to have a third party appeal system. With regard to planning permission for significant developments or strategic infrastructure developments, there is also a provision for pre-application consultation with the public.

Section 37B(1) of the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 provides for mandatory pre-application consultation between a prospective applicant and An Bord Pleanála. Regulations made under this section give the Board powers to require a prospective applicant to undertake a full public pre-application consultation. In practical terms this enables the Board, under article 210 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2006, to oblige a prospective applicant to do one or more of the following in advance of making an application proper: erect site notices; provide a specific place or a specific website to make available the application, environmental impact statement and any other relevant documentation for inspection or purchase at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy; use national or local media; and hold public meetings.

In addition the Board may also require a prospective applicant to give notice at pre-application stage to bodies prescribed for the purposes of the Act.