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.