Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (577)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

577. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the waiving of the €20 fee for planning observations and submissions applies only to councillors; if other public representatives are also exempt from paying this fee in regard to the Planning and Development (Amendment) (Fees) Regulations 2018, SI No. 501 of 2018; if so, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51722/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Planning and Development (Amendment)(Fees) Regulations 2018 amend article 168 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to provide that the fee for making a submission or observation to a planning authority in respect of a planning application shall not be payable by a member of a local authority acting in his or her capacity as a member. This waiver does not extend to other public representatives. In this regard, local authority members join local authorities, prescribed bodies specified under article 28 of the 2001 Regulations, State authorities and trans-boundary States as persons / bodies that are not required the pay the €20 fee when making submissions / observations on planning applications.

The recently enacted Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 gives legislative effect to a number of planning related recommendations of the Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments.  During the progress of the 2018 Act through the Oireachtas, the consensus arrived at was that the implementation of the Tribunal planning related recommendations should be supplemented by the introduction of waived fee arrangements for the elected members of local authorities in respect of the making of observations or submissions on planning applications.

In this regard, it was considered that the abolition of the €20 observation fee for elected members would enable them to participate in the planning process in a transparent way, but without undue expense, having regard to their role as democratically elected representatives for their areas. The subsequent Planning and Development (Amendment)(Fees) Regulations 2018 now bring these waived  fee arrangements for elected members of local authorities into force.