The Government has published a 700-page bill to reform the planning system.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien describes the Planning and Development Bill 2023 as “the cornerstone for Irish planning for the coming decades”.
The Government had approved the bill last month, but had said that it would take “a number of weeks” to prepare because of its size.
Among the main measures proposed in the bill are:
- Restructuring and resourcing of An Bord Pleanála, which will be renamed An Coimisiún Pleanála,
- The introduction of statutory timelines for decision-making – including, for the first time, An Coimisiún Pleanála,
- New strategic ten-year development plans for local authorities,
- Changes to the judicial-review process, and
- New provisions for Urban Development Zones in key growth areas.
It proposes to remove the application-for-leave stage of the judicial-review (JR) process, to reduce time spent in court and legal costs, while it also limits the ability of applicants to bring amended grounds beyond those originally filed in their applications.
The new bill also requires all JR applicants to have “exhausted any available appeal procedures or any other administrative remedy available in respect of the decision or act concerned”.
Under the bill, residents’ associations can take JR cases if:
- They have a constitution,
- They take a vote of their members on whether to go ahead with a JR,
- Two-thirds of those voting agree to proceed with the JR, and
- The names and addresses of those in favour of the JR are filed with the application.
“This bill is momentous not only in its size, but in its significance to nearly every aspect of people’s lives, from infrastructure to tackling the climate transition,” said Minister O’Brien.