Thursday, 4 November 2004

Questions (91)

Eamon Ryan


78 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will drop the €20 fee for persons to comment on planning applications. [27592/04]

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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 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.