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Written Answers. - Planning Appeals.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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[323]

 459. Mr. R. Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if he has received more up-to-date information from An Bord Pleanála regarding indicators of performance including the caseload of decisions per inspector for 2000-02; the percentage of appeals processed within the four month statutory limit 2000-02; and if he has satisfied himself with the action by the board since the Comptroller and Auditor General reported. [23351/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen The value for money report on planning appeals by the Comptroller and Auditor General examined the management of the appeals system, the factors impacting on its effectiveness and measures to improve the quality control of the system. The Comptroller and Auditor General's report notes that since the mid-1990s there has been a growing backlog of cases, resulting from the major increase in the number of planning appeals in recent years.

Section 126 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, which came into force on 11 March 2002, provides that it shall be the objective of the board to determine appeals within a period of 18 weeks. Prior to the 2000 Act, this objective was 4 months. The percentage of cases dealt with by the board within the relevant statutory period in the years 2000 to 2002 was 47% in 2000, 29% in 2001 and 35% to end October 2002. The Comptroller and Auditor General's report indicates that the number of reports produced by the board's planning staff was an average of 86 reports in 2000. I have not received any further such information for 2001 or 2002.

I have been informed by An Bord Pleanála that the situation in relation to the backlog has been reversed substantially during 2002, falling from a peak of 2,700 at the end of year 2000 to 1,440 cases at end October 2002. This has resulted from a 21% increase in the board's output this year along with a 14% decline in the intake of cases. The board has indicated that for the first time in five years its workload is at a level consistent with the board's strategic target of giving decisions within 18 weeks in 90% of cases. It is expected that the great majority of recent and future appeals will be dealt with within that timeframe.


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