Sunday 14 September 2008

Local authorities decide on only half of all planning bids within deadline

A TOTAL OF 35,725 planning applications were made to local authorities last year, some 29,936 of which were for individual houses, according to a report on public service indicators released yesterday.

The report from the Local Government Management Services Board revealed that on average three quarters of the individual house applications were granted, with just two thirds of multi-house applications granted.

The report does not analyse whether the individual houses were located within zoned housing land or were one-off homes in the countryside.

But it does indicate that just over one third of all planning authority refusals for individual houses were overturned by An Bord Pleanála. The board overturned just under a third of multi-house development refusals.

The report also found that local authorities were able to decide only half of all planning applications within their allotted eight weeks. Most of the remainder resulted in requests for additional information.

The report also found wide disparities across the State in Traveller housing programmes. Some local authorities had achieved in excess of 100 per cent of their target for Traveller housing while others were able to only achieve a portion.

Monaghan achieved 183 per cent of its target while Wicklow County Council was the lowest at just 29.3 per cent.

Dublin City Council achieved only 39.3 per cent while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council achieved 107 per cent.

The report also contained a special section on waste management and recycling.

In 2007, 35.2 per cent of household waste was recycled, some 454,159 tonnes with the remaining 64.8 per cent, 837,440 tonnes, sent to landfill.

Of the household waste collected, 53 per cent of households were exclusively serviced by private operators, with 41 per cent serviced by a combination of public and private operators.

Only six per cent of local authority areas are now dealt with exclusively by local authorities.

In relation to drinking water there has been only a slight improvement in meeting statutory requirements for public schemes to 97.94 per cent in 2007.

For private schemes there has been an improvement to 95 per cent for 2007.

The indicators also showed significant increases in the use of the internet to access motor tax services. Speed of service was up by almost seven per cent on the previous year, on average.

The statistics in relation to the library service record the average number of opening hours for local authorities’ libraries was 38.1 hours per week.

In 2007, 444 children’s playgrounds were directly provided by local authorities. In addition, 158 playgrounds were facilitated by the local authorities.

The Irish Times

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