Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (275)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin


275. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he plans to review the costs of lodging observations to planning applications to local authorities and An Bord Pleanála; if his Department has examined the impact of these fees on low-income households and inability to pay and access to the planning system; his plans to carry out such research; if he has conducted a comparative analysis with other EU countries on the cost of access; if he plans to examine this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8208/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The fees for making submissions or observations on planning applications and appeals are set at levels intended to prevent frivolous or vexatious submissions, while not acting as a deterrent to persons with genuine concerns or interest in proposed developments from making submissions.

Section 33 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the 2000 Act), provides that the Minister may make regulations in relation to the planning fees applied by planning authorities, including in relation to the making of a submission or observation on a planning application. The current planning related fees payable to planning authorities have been in place since 2002. It is proposed to review the fees involved in the context of the introduction of e-planning (facilitating the online submission of planning applications, appeals and associated fees), the national roll out of which is to be completed in 2022.

With regard to the fees payable to An Bord Pleanála, section 144 of the 2000 Act provides that the Board may determine the fees that it may charge in relation to its functions, subject to Ministerial approval, including the fee for the making of submissions or observations on planning appeals.

The Board is further empowered to review such fees at least every three years having regard to any change in the consumer price index (CPI), and it may amend them accordingly without the necessity of Ministerial approval. The Board last completed a CPI Fees review in December 2019, on foot of which it was decided not to amend to the existing fee structure. I understand that An Bord Pleanála also completed a general non-CPI fees review in November 2020, and will in due course submit, for my consideration, any proposals arising from that general review.