Written Answers. - Planning Appeals.

16.

asked the Minister for the Environment the total number of applications submitted to An Bord Pleanála since the inception of the new board; and the total number of decisions given by the board on foot of these appeals.

22.

asked the Minister for the Environment the number of planning appeals under consideration by An Bord Pleanála on 31 December 1983, 1984 and 1985; and the steps, if any, he has taken to ensure that the board are giving priority and urgent consideration to appeals in relation to decisions by planning authorities on applications where job creation is involved.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 22 together. An Bord Pleanála had 1,073 appeals on hand at 31 December 1985. One year earlier, the number on hand was 1,687 and at the end of December 1983, the number was 2,452. When the present board took office in March 1984, the number of appeals on hand was 2,354 and the number of appeals received between then and 31 December 1985 was 4,349. A total of 5,630 cases were disposed of over the same period. Of these, 4,628 were formally decided and the remainder were either withdrawn or declared invalid.

Under the provisions of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1983, the board have a general duty to secure that planning appeals are dealt with as quickly as possible and they are required to carry out reviews of its organisation, systems and procedures to this end. I requested the board at an early stage to make a determined effort to eliminate the backlog of appeals as quickly as possible so that all appeals as dealt with within a reasonable period. I am satisfied that the board have made consistent efforts to secure the expeditious dispatch of appeals and the figures I have quoted are evidence of this. I am also satisfied that the board make special efforts to secure that there is no avoidable delay in dealing with cases which could have a significant impact on job creation.