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Written Answers - Planning Issues

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 149. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local [200]Government  Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  as there seems to be a gap in legislation where there is no independent body overseeing the consistent application of planning policy by local authorities throughout the country, An Bord Pleanála has stated that consideration by the board as to whether planning authorities are applying their policies consistently across all applications is outside their remit, if this matter can be investigated by him or is there any legal route other than court action that can be taken by citizens. [19670/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan As Minister for Housing and Planning I am responsible for ensuring that a strong policy and legislative framework exists to support the consistent operation of the planning system. A very extensive suite of statutory planning guidelines is already in place to promote best practice in planning authorities. My Department is currently developing further guidance for planning authorities in relation, inter alia, to retail planning, development contributions, and local area plans. In terms of forward planning a clear hierarchy of plans from the National Spatial Strategy to Regional Planning Guidelines, Development Plans and Local Area Plans is in place to ensure a clear framework for decision making across the various spatial levels. It is a matter for planning authorities to ensure that development management decisions taken are in accordance with the policies set out in their respective development plans and local area plans.

The report of the Mahon Tribunal contains a number of recommended reforms of the planning system, including a recommendation for the establishment of an independent planning regulator. The recommendations are being actively considered by my Department in conjunction with other relevant Departments.

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