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Written Answers. - Planning Regulations.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 243. Ms Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  the policy in respect of planning enforcement services in local authorities; the policy in respect of carrying out spot-checks on developments to ensure compliance with planning permission conditions; if he has satisfied himself that all local authorities keep a sufficient complement of planning enforcement staff in order to carry out this work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26995/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen Strong and visible enforcement is critical to ensuring that the planning control system works properly and for the benefit of the entire community. A key objective of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, was to bring forward strengthened provisions on planning enforcement. These new provisions came into force on 11 March 2002. Direct responsibility for ensuring compliance with planning permissions in individual cases and operational matters in relation to planning enforcement are matters for the relevant planning authority.

I have been concerned to ensure adequate staffing levels for local authority planning departments. Numerous requests from planning authorities for sanction for additional planning posts, both professional planners and administrative staff, have been approved. Staffing of local authority planning departments has almost doubled over the past four years from 660 in June 1998 to 1276 in July 2002 and has involved significant recruitment of planners from abroad. I am confident that the staffing of local authority planning services is being ramped up appropriately to new requirements and that this will continue.

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