Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (67)

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

190 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the threat by the European Commission to take legal action arising from the decision of the Government to introduce a €20 charge for making a submission on a planning application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2864/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

On 23 January 2003, the European Commission issued Ireland with a Reasoned Opinion to the effect that the €20 fee for the making of a submission on a planning application which requires environmental impact assessment is contrary to the public participation provisions of Directive 85/337/EEC on Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA. A reply, responding to each of the points raised in the Reasoned Opinion, issued to the European Commission on 16 May 2003 stating our contention that the imposition of a €20 participation fee is not in conflict with the provisions of the directive.

On 22 July 2003, the European Commission issued a press release in which it stated its intention to refer the case to the European Court of Justice. No official communication has been received from the Commission to date. I have no proposal to amend the relevant regulations which reflect an approach recently endorsed by the Oireachtas in the context of the Planning and Development Act 2000.