Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (435)

Tony Gregory

Question:

576 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will take steps to terminate the planning fee for objectors as required by a decision of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25094/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

On 23 January 2003, the European Commission issued Ireland with a reasoned opinion to the effect that the €20 fee for the making of a submission on a planning application which requires environmental impact assessment is contrary to the public participation provisions of Directive 85/337/EEC on Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA. A reply, responding to each of the points raised in the reasoned opinion, issued to the European Commission on 16 May 2003 set out our contention that the imposition of a €20 participation fee is not in conflict with the provisions of the directive.

On 22 July 2003, the European Commission issued a press release in which it stated its intention to refer the case to the European Court of Justice. However, no official communication has been received from the Commission to date. I have no proposal to amend the relevant regulations which reflect an approach endorsed by the Oireachtas in the context of the Planning and Development Act 2000.