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An Bord Pleanála report urges review planning legislation

Words: Roger Milne
Alan Kelly

The review group, set up by environment minister Alan Kelly to “ensure that An Bord Pleanála would be best positioned to fulfil its legislative mandate” in relation to an expected increase in construction, has made more than 100 recommendations involving changes in the way the agency carries out its work.

Crucially, the group is calling for a review of the country’s planning legislation, which the group insists needs simplification.

The report has called for:
•    More open arrangements for board membership;
•    Improvements to the processes, systems and practices of An Bord Pleanála;
•    Access to environmental and other specialist advice;
•    Mandatory pre-application discussions for all potential Strategic Infrastructure Development applications; and
•    Changes to the statutory objective time frames for the work of the agency’s board.

The minister said his department would consider the group’s findings.

“This report confirms the reputation of the board for thoroughness, integrity and professionalism and points towards a range of practical but also strategic reforms that can and should be progressed to ensure that the board’s crucial role in the planning process is upheld in meeting an increased workload driven by Ireland’s economic recovery.”