He failed to do it, but I am doing it. As Members might recall, the official name of Dingle was changed to An Daingean by the Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order of December 2004 made by the Minster for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs under the Official Languages Act 2003. As is well documented at this stage, the change in name has provoked an extended debate, with significant opposition locally based on a perceived lack of consultation prior to the making of the placenames order and the wish to preserve the name "Dingle" from a tourism perspective. A campaign was established to change the name of the town to Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis under the change of placename provisions of the Local Government Act 1946, as amended, to which I referred. In September 2005, the Attorney General advised that the local government code may not be used to change the name of a place already subject to a placenames order, as in the case of An Daingean and this advice was notified to Kerry County Council, the sponsoring authority for such a procedure under local government law. Notwithstanding the advice, the council proceeded to hold a plebiscite under the Local Government Act 1946, as amended, to ascertain whether the majority of qualified electors in the town consented to an application being made to the Government for an order to change the name of An Daingean to Dingle Daingean Uí Chúis. The proposal put to the electorate was carried overwhelmingly. Kerry County Council then resolved to apply to the Government to make an order under section 77 of the Local Government Act 1946, to change the name to Dingle Daingean Uí Chúis. However, in view of the earlier advice of the Attorney General, it was not possible to accede to the council's request. Subsequent efforts by the previous Government to introduce legislation to deal with this issue were unsuccessful and I am, therefore, availing of the earliest possible legislative opportunity to undo the impact of the 2004 placenames order as it applies to An Daingean and to provide, in law, that the name of the town in the English language will be Dingle and in the Irish language will be Daingean Uí Chúis.
Of more general application, the proposals before the House today provide a more coherent, modern and streamlined set of procedures for changing placenames. They allow for greater recognition to be given to the Irish language generally when placename changes are proposed and they set responsibility for this function at local level, where it should properly reside.
The office of the Attorney General has advised that the insertion of a new part into the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, is urgently required to provide essential technical amendments to the Planning Acts. The amendments do not depart from the policy intent behind the amendments made by way of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010. The amendments in question will enable the commencement of certain provisions in the 2010 Planning Act, which further implement the environmental impact assessment directive and the birds and habitats directives. Certain amendments are required to settle EU complaints against Ireland and so must be urgently commenced to avoid incurring European Community fines.
I now wish to provide an overview of the planning amendments included in the new Part 4. Sections 8 and 9 amendments are standard definition sections. Section 10 is a technical amendment which restates the amendment to section 4 of the 2000 Planning Act, made by way of section 5 of the 2010 Planning Act, with required transitional provisions now included. Section 11 amends section 13 of the Planning Acts on foot of the transfer of the heritage function to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the role of that Minister in varying development plans. Section 12 is a consequential amendment to section 30 of the Planning Acts which is on foot of technical revision in this Bill to Part XAB of the Planning Acts. Section 13 amends section 50A of the Planning Acts to the effect that a court may now grant leave to apply for judicial review of planning applications, appeals, referrals and other matters where the applicant has a sufficient interest in the matter which is the subject of the application. Section 14 amends section 50B of the Planning Acts, which deals with legal costs in certain environmental matters. Sections 15, 16 and 17 are technical amendments to sections 57, 82 and 87 of the Planning Acts to clarify that exemptions given in the planning regulations do not apply to works to a protected structure or proposed protected structure and further, do not apply to works in architectural conservation areas or special planning control areas. Sections 18, 19 and 20 provide technical amendments to sections 130, 135 and 153 of the Planning Acts, respectively. Sections 21 and 22 provide technical amendments to sections 157 and 160 of the Planning Acts. These new sections have the same policy intent as sections 47 and 48 of the 2010 Planning Act but provide clearer legal text. Section 23 provides a technical amendment to section 170 of the Planning Acts to correctly reference Part X of the Planning Acts, which relates to Environmental Impact Assessment. Section 24 technically modifies the definition of "candidate special protection area". Sections 25 to 29 are amendments to Part XAB of the Planning Acts to reflect the transfer of responsibility for heritage functions to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Sections 30 to 33 technically amend sections 181A, 181B, 182A and 182C. Section 34 amends the Seventh Schedule of the Planning Acts to clarify the type of health infrastructural development that should be sent directly to An Bord Pleanála under the strategic consent process. Section 35 provides for the repeal of certain sections of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010, which required technical amendment through this Bill.
The motion also provides for the inclusion of a number of new amendments in the Bill which, on the advice of the Attorney General, are necessary before the State can ratify the Aarhus Convention. They include a provision for a new costs rule and further provisions to specify the type of court cases to which the new costs rule will apply. These provisions also seek to give clarity in advance to applicants on the level of legal costs they may incur when taking such cases. As Deputies will be aware, the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, better known as the Aarhus Convention, was adopted in June 1998. The convention lays down a set of basic rules to promote citizens' involvement in environmental decision-making. Ireland is the only EU member state yet to ratify the convention and commitment is pledged in the programme for Government to complete ratification. With Ireland's Presidency of the European Union approaching in the first half of 2013, it is important that ratification takes place as soon as possible. The convention is linked to environmental legislation generally and is particularly relevant to decision-making on licensing issues such as waste licensing and air pollution licensing, for example. Owing to the relevance of the convention to a wide spectrum of environmental legislation, it is considered appropriate to include the necessary legislative provisions in the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.
A technical amendment to section 70 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 was agreed on Committee Stage to complete implementation of Article 5 and the Committee Stage amendments proposed today will complete implementation of a number of other articles of the convention.
The amendment proposed to Section 6(2A) of the Local Government Act 1998, as amended by the Local Government (Roads Functions) Act 2007, will allow the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the power to expend moneys from the local government fund on all public roads -national, regional and local — and on the provision of public transport infrastructure. The local government fund was established under the Local Government Act 1998 and is financed from motor taxation receipts and an annual contribution from the Exchequer. Under section 3(2) of the Local Government Act 1998, as Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, I have responsibility for managing and controlling the fund. Responsibility for non-national roads transferred from my Department to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2008. A protocol arrangement between the two Departments provided that funding for non-national roads would continue to be channelled on an annual basis from the local government fund to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This amendment will allow the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport discretion in the allocation of local government fund moneys within his responsibilities for national and non-national roads and the provision of public transport infrastructure. This will permit the effective targeting of investment to those areas of transport infrastructure of highest national priority.
I have set out for the House the reasons for these necessary amendments and I ask that this motion be passed to allow for a formal discussion of these amendments during Report Stage of this Bill.