- 7 March 2023
- Posted by: Christina Seitz
- Categories: Commercial Property, Residential and Mixed Use Developments
New measures proposed under the Planning and Development Bill 2022
The Government has published a draft of the new Planning and Development Bill 2022 (the “Bill”). The Bill is now at the pre-legislative scrutiny stage with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The Bill is aimed to overhaul the existing myriad of planning law legislation which was initially enacted under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (the “2000 Act”). The Bill aims to align our societal needs for more housing under the Government’s “Housing for All” plan paired with the increasing landscape of ever-changing Environmental and EU Law.
The main elements of the Bill can be summarised as follows:-
- Ministerial Guidelines (section 28 of the 2000 Act) will be replaced by National Planning Statements (“NPS”). The NPS will comprise of two elements both the National Planning Policies and Measures (“NPPM”) and the National Planning Policy Guidance (“NPPG”). The NPPG will outline how the proposed measures in a NPPM will be implemented. The significance of the National Planning Statements has been enhanced from their former Ministerial Guidelines in that any development plans made by a local authority pursuant to the Bill will have to provide a statement confirming the relevant plan is “materially consistent” with the NPS. The NPS will be approved at Government Level in order to provide greater cohesion at both national and regional level.
- Local Development Plans which are generated by local authorities in order to outline what specific areas have been zoned for in their catchment. Previously, the Local Development Plans had a lifecycle of a six year period now under the Bill these Local Development Plans will be extended to 10 years with a review after 5 years. The Bill also provides that the Local Development Plans will be significantly more detailed and succinct to achieve strategic implementation.
- The Bill will also introduce changes to Judicial Reviews applications by introducing strict timelines from the initial issuance of the application to the delivery of the Judgment. An Bord Pleanála (“ABP”) or a Local Authority will be allowed to apply for a stay in order to amend a planning decision, if the correction is an error of law or fact. The Bill also makes changes to whom may apply for Judicial Review application and interestingly, Section 250 provides that a Court will make not costs orders in relation to non-compliance if the Court finds “that the proceedings are frivolous or vexatious or constitute an abuse of process.”
- The Bill also introduces sweeping changes to ABP which shall be renamed to An Coimisiún Pleanála. The new An Coimisiún Pleanála shall be organised into two branches; the Planning Commissioners and The Governing Executive:-
- The Planning Commissioners (“CPs”) will comprise of a Chief Commissioner, a Deputy Commissioner and 13 Planning Commissioners. The CPs are tasked with the decision making function of An Coimisiún Pleanála including reviewing applications;
- The Governing Executive will be a separate branch and it will be tasked with the governance and management of the An Coimisiún Pleanála. It will consist of a Chief Executive and 7 personnel who will be appointed by the Minister. The Governing Executive will be responsible for arranging resources for the CPs.
As seen from the above the Bill has been aimed at reforming the planning processes and procedures at a macro level however, the Bill has been widely criticised in the media for falling short at a micro level e.g. for not providing immunity for historical planning infractions. The Bill in its entirety should be welcomed as a new benchmark for planning legislation which will greatly streamline the currently overwhelmed and under resourced planning process by consolidating and modernising over two decades of legislation.
 Draft Planning and Development Bill 2022, Section 28(1), available: : https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c6f60-draft-planning-and-development-bill-2022/ (accessed 1 March 2023]
 Ibid, Section 250