Section 10 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, requires a development plan to set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. The Act also provides that a development plan must include objectives,inter alia, for the zoning of land for the use solely or primarily of particular areas for particular purposes, whether residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, as open space or otherwise, or a mixture of those uses, where, and to such extent, as the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, in the opinion of the planning authority, requires the uses to be indicated. It is primarily a matter, therefore, for each planning authority to ensure that these zoning provisions are consistent with the overall strategy contained in the plan.
The Minister for the Environment and Local Government is a statutory consultee for all development plans. In accordance with normal practice, the Department, on my behalf, examines draft plans and regularly offers comments to local planning authorities. It will be well known that in recent years, and particularly in the context of the strategic planning guidelines for the greater Dublin area, my Department has raised substantive queries with a number of local authorities about their draft development plan objectives. These interventions have generally led to satisfactory outcomes.
Ministerial power to direct a planning authority to amend a development plan is contained in section 31 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000. Similar provisions were included in the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963, but were never used.
The new Planning and Development Act provides also for the making of regional planning guidelines by regional authorities to which local planning authorities must have regard in making and accepting a development plan. The strategic planning guidelines for the greater Dublin area represent such regional planning guidelines. I would intend that similar force should attach to the relevant provisions of the national spatial strategy when this is published shortly.