Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (444)

Dinny McGinley

Question:

585 Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the timeframe for the implementation of the rural planning guidelines. [25294/04]

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

In accordance with normal practice, the guidelines for planning authorities on sustainable rural housing, published on 4 March 2004, were issued in draft form to give all those interested an opportunity to comment before the guidelines are finalised in statutory form. Submissions on the draft guidelines were to be submitted to my Department by 30 April 2004.

A total of 105 submissions on the draft guidelines have been received by my Department from interested organisations and individuals. The submissions have been examined in detail by my Department. I intend to carefully consider any suggestions for clarifying or improving the guidelines before they are finalised. I expect that the guidelines will be issued in their final statutory form within the next two months.

However, in view of the importance of the rural housing issue and the fact that there has already been extensive opportunity for public debate, my predecessor requested planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála to have regard to the draft guidelines with effect from their date of publication. The guidelines are a material consideration both in relation to development plans and in the consideration of planning applications. Planning authorities are required to review and vary their development plans, where necessary, to ensure that their policies on rural settlement are consistent with the policies set out in the guidelines.