I thank the committee for the opportunity to present to it the proposed Planning and Development (Amendment) Regulations 2019. The proposed regulations are aimed at amending provisions in the principal Planning and Development Regulations 2001 concerning development that is exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission. Under the planning Acts, each House of the Oireachtas is required to approve draft planning regulations relating to exempted development by way of positive resolution before they can be made by me, as Minister. The consideration of the draft regulations by the committee here today is part of that approval process.
The draft regulations, the Planning and Development (Amendment) Regulations 2019, relate to the provision of a number of exemptions for development works undertaken by the Office of Public Works, OPW, for the provision of infrastructural facilities at ports. This involves the insertion of a dedicated new class of exempted development, namely, class 59, in Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the principal regulations. These proposed exemptions will permit the OPW to undertake works or have works undertaken on its behalf relating to the provision of necessary temporary or permanent port infrastructure. The proposed exemptions are broadly similar to those provided for airports. The exemptions proposed will essentially enable the OPW to undertake development, within a port, without the need to obtain planning permission, thereby helping to ensure the efficient delivery of essential services that may be required as a result of Brexit. Such developments include the extension of a port operational building, subject to conditions and limitations, including a spatial limit of 500 sq m to an existing building; the provision of visual navigation aids; the extension of loading or unloading areas, or vehicle queuing or parking areas, subject to conditions and limitations; the provision of security fencing and gates, security cameras and signage, subject to conditions and limitations; the provision of directional, locational or warning signs; the provision of roads and related signage and ancillary safety barriers used for the movement of vehicles and equipment.
In particular, I point out that these draft regulations do not propose to provide blanket exemptions for development works by the OPW at ports. The exemptions provided are subject to a number of conditions and limitations, including that the proposed development does not require an environmental impact assessment, EIA, or appropriate assessment, AA. Any works proposed by the OPW that are not specifically exempted by these exempted development regulations will still require planning permission in the normal course.
The regulations were proposed in the memorandum for Government on Brexit Requirements at Dublin and Rosslare Ports - Planning Related Legislative Issues, which was brought to the Government in February 2019. The regulations would enable any future port related works covered by the proposed exemption to be carried out without the need for further emergency orders. It is considered that the proposed exemptions for ports are reasonable and appropriate to the essential services that may be required as a result of Brexit.
I commend these draft regulations to the committee. They are very important and, if required, I believe they have the potential to have a real and positive impact on Ireland's response to Brexit. They will facilitate efficient delivery of customs, sanitary, phytosanitary and health checks and controls in Dublin and Rosslare ports arising from Brexit. I look forward to what I know will be an engaging discussion with committee members. I welcome Mr. Eamonn Kelly from the Department who is here to assist. If the draft regulations are approved by positive resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas, they will come into force as soon as they are signed by me, as Minister. In that regard, it is my intention to sign the regulations into law at the earliest possible date.