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Planning Issues

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 18 April 2012

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Questions (814)

Simon Harris


824 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he intends to reform the current retention planning legislation which frequently allows dwellings to be constructed and activities carried out which negatively impact adjoining landowners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18132/12]

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

Under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 — 2011, all development, unless specifically exempted under the Acts or associated Regulations, requires planning permission. Any development that is carried out without planning permission, or that does not comply with the terms of a planning permission, is unauthorised development, and may be subject to enforcement action by a planning authority. Planning authorities have substantial enforcement powers and duties under the Planning Acts. A planning authority must issue a warning letter in relation to written complaints regarding unauthorised development, or other unauthorised development it becomes aware of (except in the case of trivial or minor development). There is also a statutory obligation to carry out an investigation and expeditiously decide whether an enforcement notice should be issued or a court order should be sought, under section 160 of the 2000 Act. Where a planning authority establishes, following an investigation, that unauthorised development (other than development that is of a trivial or minor nature) has been or is being carried out, and the person who has carried out the development has not proceeded to remedy the position, then the planning authority must issue an enforcement notice or seek a court order, unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so.

An application for retention permission is required to be assessed by a planning authority in the same way as any other application, that is, the planning authority is required to consider the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to the provisions of the development plan, any submissions or observations received, and relevant Ministerial or Government policies, including any guidelines issued by my Department.

The facility to apply for retention permission was curtailed in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 which provided that a planning authority may not accept an application for retention permission in respect of a development which would have required that one or more of the following was carried out: an environmental impact assessment; a determination as to whether an environmental impact assessment was required; or an appropriate assessment.

The above provision was commenced on 23 March 2011. Section 57 of the 2010 Act makes provision to allow developments which would have required an environmental impact assessment or an appropriate assessment to be the subject of applications for substitute consent, but only in very limited circumstances e.g. the development had a permission which was found defective by a court or An Bord Pleanála consider that there are exceptional circumstances which warrant the granting of leave to apply for substitute consent.

Question No. 825 answered with Question No. 815.