Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (119)

Brian Stanley


119. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether there was a conflict of interest in the decision by An Bord Pleanála to approve the Cullenagh wind farm, and the fact that one of the board members (details supplied) worked for a company that drew up the proposal for the wind farm. [28600/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I have no role or function in relation to decisions taken by An Bord Pleanála on individual cases. An Bord Pleanála operates under a Code of Conduct as required by section 150 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, one of the purposes of which is to ensure that any potential conflicts of interest relating to its statutory functions are dealt with in an appropriate manner by it. This Code is available for viewing on the website of An Bord Pleanála.

Section 13 of the Code contains procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest in the context of meetings of An Bord Pleanála where appeals and other planning cases are determined. Section 15.2 of the Code also requires that a Board member shall not deal with any case in any capacity on behalf of the Board where the member had any involvement at any time in the matter, either on a personal basis or on behalf of a previous employer or as a member of any other organisation or voluntary body. Furthermore section 15.4 requires that a Board member shall not knowingly deal with a file relating to a planning authority or a private practice where he/she was previously employed during the previous 2 year period or any voluntary or professional organisation of which the person is or was a member during the previous 2 year period.

My Department has been assured by the Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála (who was part of the Board of An Bord Pleanála which determined the case referred to in the Deputy’s question) that the relevant procedures were followed in this case and that no conflict of interest arose in relation to any of the five Board members who were present at the meeting at which the case was determined.