Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1983)

Maureen O'Sullivan


1983. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the procedure in relation to the granting of permission for large-scale rocket blasting of rock; the purposes for which the practice is authorised; the person or body that authorises same; and the way in which it is managed and overseen with particular reference to the relevant legislation and or regulations governing same. [36162/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála, as appropriate, may grant planning permission for a development, which involves rock blasting, such as a quarry. A person is not entitled solely by reasons of a planning permission to carry out development. The issuing of a permit for the use of explosives in the extractive industry, or for other purposes, is a matter for An Garda Síochána, which falls within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, whose Department has issued the Guide to Explosives Legislation in Ireland.

When making a decision on a planning application for a quarry, a planning authority or the Board, as appropriate, is required to have regard to the particular local circumstances of the proposed development and may attach appropriate conditions to the permission on a case by case basis.

My Department issued statutory Guidelines to Planning Authorities on Quarrying and Ancillary Activities in April 2004, to which planning authorities and the Board must have regard when considering a planning application for a quarry. The Guidelines include planning guidance on the attachment of appropriate conditions to quarry-related permissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, published guidelines in 2006 on Environmental Management in the Extractive Industry, which complement the 2004 Quarry Guidelines issued by my Department and include advice on the management of environmental issues associated with blasting in quarries, such as pollution, noise and vibration.

Furthermore, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety in the workplace, including specific requirements in relation to the use of explosives in the extractive industry under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008 and its associated guidance. The HSA is under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.