Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (435)

Tony Gregory


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]

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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.