Planning and Development Bill welcomed by business

January 26, 2023

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today welcomed the publication of the Planning and Development Bill 2022. 

Ibec’s Head of Infrastructure Energy and Environment, Dr Neil Walker, said: “This landmark legislation has the potential to bring greater certainty to implementation of the National Planning Framework. It will consolidate and rationalise the confusing patchwork of amendments to the original primary legislation that has proliferated over the past two decades. By doing so, it will remove one of the major obstacles to achieving regional targets for new housing in compact urban areas that are needed to serve Ireland’s rapidly growing population.

“Ibec supports the introduction of mandatory timelines for consent processes. These are urgently needed in the context of a housing crisis but they make more sense if embedded in a reformed regime in which enhanced public participation can be focused more usefully on the strategic plan-making stage at local authority and local area level, rather than on disputing individual planning applications. If implemented properly, with adequate additional expert staffing and financial resources both for the consenting bodies and the courts service, the Bill will serve the public interest by achieving a better balance between environmental sustainability and economic imperatives. 

“An Bord Pleanála, in particular, must have access to necessary resources for it to carry out its responsibilities effectively. This is separate, but in addition, to the planned wider organisational changes to transform it into An Coimisiún Pleanála. These resources are essential and cannot wait. The backlog in cases awaiting decisions is simply far too great, and it is growing by the day. This includes addressing planning applications for approximately 30,000 homes, and key infrastructure projects.

“Through its ongoing participation in the Planning Advisory Forum, Ibec has made several contributions to the Attorney General’s recently completed review. We look forward to engaging with policymakers to ensure timely enactment.”