Wednesday 12 September 2007

Major developers stung with €100,000 planning levy

THE cost of the Metro, new Luas lines, motorways and all main roads and rail lines are each going up by €100,000.

State transport and infrastructure agencies as well as private developers are being hit with a new €100,000 planning fee under the Government's new fast-track system, it will be announced today.

The fee will affect every new motorway, road section, Metro, Luas or power plant project, many of which are about to be submitted for approval.

Until now there was no fee to have a major infrastructure dealt with by An Bord Pleanala under the new Strategic Infrastructure Development process.

Under this arrangement, all major infrastructure projects are sent directly to the board for consideration, bypassing the local authority planning system.


The new fees being announced today by An Bord Pleanala will add €100,000 to the cost of every major infrastructure project, including new heavy and light rail, incinerators, road by-passes, large onshore and offshore windfarms, gas pipelines, high voltage electricity lines, and all new power stations.

Dozens of these projects are in the pipeline, including two Metro lines, seven new Luas lines and scores of major new roads.

The board said the €100,000 would be used to offset any costs involved in determining the planning application.

The cost of these major infrastructure projects ranges from several hundred million euro to billions in the case of the Metro from Dublin city centre to the airport.

Members of the public who want to object to major infrastructure projects on planning or environmental grounds will have to pay a brand new fee of €50 in future.

Developers who are refused permission to retain unauthorised illegal development by local authorities and appeal to Bord Pleanala will have to pay a €4,500 fee, up from €1,900.


This charge rises to €9,000 if the board has to carry out an environment impact study.

General third-party appeals by members of the public against developments go up from €210 to €220.

The new charges take effect from December 10.

Applications for strategic infrastructure development must, since January, be made directly to the board.

An Bord Pleanala said these applications would cost developers €100,000 but this fee would be offset against any costs charged by the board for determining the case. There would also be provision for a part refund of the fee in certain cases where the project is small.

The board said a fee of €50 would be charged to make submissions and observations by members of the public relating to planning and environmental issues.

It is the policy of the board to direct an oral hearing in significant strategic infrastructure development cases, the statement added.

"As regards normal planning appeals, the fees for making an appeal by the developer relating to commercial development or where an environmental impact statement (EIS) is involved will increase significantly," the authority said.

"However, first-party appeals relating to small developments, eg single houses, and all third-party appeals by members of the public will increase by less than inflation since fees were last revised in February 2005," it added.

Irish Independent

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