Under section 2 of the Local Government, (Planning and Development) Act, 1992, An Bord Pleanála has a statutory objective of determining appeals within a four month period. The continuing growth in the number of appeals, which reflects the upturn in the national economy, has resulted in a fall off in the number of appeals being determined within four months. At the end of September, 65 per cent of appeals determined in 1998 had been determined within four months and 92 per cent had been determined within six months.
In order to ensure that the planning appeal process operates in an efficient and effective manner and to help the board meet its statutory objective of determining appeals within four months, I have taken a number of measures this year. These include an increase in board membership of 50 per cent and approval to all other additional staffing sought by the board during the year. Appointments to the outstanding posts are expected to be finalised before the end of the year. In the light of these measures, I expect the board's performance to steadily improve. I will continue to monitor the board's performance to see if additional measures are required.