MAJOR NEW planning legislation to be published today will dramatically clamp down on retentions for large developments and on the rampant expansion of quarries.
The Planning Bill 2010 will be published by Minister for the Environment John Gormley and is partly designed to target problems that persistently cropped up during the property boom which existing planning legislation was not equipped to deal with.
On the retention issue, the Bill will require that it will no longer be possible for planning permission to be granted for retention of developments built without planning permission, where the development would have required an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The effect of this is that a major development that required an EIA and was built without planning permission must be demolished.
There are also new retention powers in relation to illegal developments on certain European-designated wildlife sites.
In the quarry sector, the new Bill will introduce a strictly time-limited sunset provision which will allow quarries with a generally compliant planning record to apply to An Bord Pleanála to regularise their activities through a new “substitute consent” process.
There will also be a new requirement for local authorities to prepare a complete inventory of all quarries in their jurisdiction. Quarries that never had planning permission or failed to register under S.261 of the Planning Act 2000 will not qualify for substitute consent.
Improved enforcement provisions in the Bill will require local authorities to immediately take enforcement proceedings against quarries which are refused substitute consent or are otherwise non-compliant.
There are also new provisions for the protection and strengthening of public rights of way.