Sunday 12 November 2006

Areas of Special Amenity and Irish Planning

Areas of Special Amenity and Irish Planning

Planning authorities are empowered (under section 202 of the Planning and Development Act 2000), but not obliged, to make a Special Amenity Area Order (SAAO) when an area appears to require an additional level of protection from development on one of the following grounds:

· its outstanding natural beauty,

· its special recreational value,

· a need for nature conservation.

The making of a SAAO is a reserved function. The procedure is very formal, because landowners’ rights are restricted with such an order. Certain categories of development, otherwise exempted, are removed from this category and made subject to planning permission. Furthermore, no compensation is payable in respect of refusal of planning permission in an area to which an SAAO relates. An SAAO has to be confirmed by the Board after it is made by elected representatives. Only three SAAOs have been made: Liffey Valley (not the shops); North Bull Island; and Howth peninsula. None has been made since the procedure for adoption was altered in the 2000 Act. Many candidate SAAOs exist. Those interested in the procedure should see: section 203 of the Planning and Development Act.

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