Under section 126 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, An Bord Pleanála (the Board) has a statutory objective to determine planning appeals within 18 weeks of receipt of the appeal. Where the Board does not consider it possible or appropriate to reach a decision within 18 weeks (e.g. because of the particular complexities of a case or the requirement to hold an oral hearing), it will inform the parties of the reasons for this, and will indicate when it intends to make its decision.
In 2018, the Board disposed of 39% of planning appeals within the statutory objective period of 18 weeks. This was down from 64% in 2017, mainly due to the impact of the transition to the new Plean-IT system and an increased case-load. However, it should be noted that the total number of appeals disposed of by the Board in 2018 was 2,158, a 24% increase on the previous year.
For 2019, the Board has set a target to decide 60% - 70% of planning appeals within the statutory objective period. As of end September 2019, the compliance rate for determining planning appeals within the statutory objective period stood at 67%, up significantly from 38% at the same time in 2018, which is in line with the Performance Delivery Agreement target.
My Department has worked closely with the Board over the last year or so on a range of measures aimed at increasing its compliance rate with the statutory objective period, including the appointment of additional Board members and the provision of additional resources. Ongoing and planned recruitment processes will see staffing levels increase further in the months ahead.
I am satisfied with the impact these measures appear to be having and as such, I have no plans currently to introduce new legislation aimed specifically at increasing the Board’s compliance rate.
My Department will continue to liaise closely with the Board to ensure that it has appropriate resources to maintain and improve its compliance rate going forward, in line with its Performance Delivery Agreement target.