Tuesday 7 July 2009

Environment Minister Launches Electronic Planning System

Minster for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, John Gormley, TD has launched a new policy for ePlanning, which is aimed at improving the planning system and making it easier and more efficient for both individuals and planning authorities.

The new policy will allow for people to make applications on-line and will also allow for third parties to make submissions or objections on-line. The new system is already up and running in Dublin on a pilot basis for small applications.
Mayo County Council’s online Planning application submission system is currently being piloted by a number of Planning Agents and all Agents will be invited to use the new system this autumn.

“On-line planning makes complete sense. It will lower costs and increase efficiencies for the planning authorities, applicants and third parties. It will make the planning system more accessible and easier to use for all” - Minister Gormley said.

“In our current paper system we have huge inefficiencies which make no sense. For example, most planning applications and designs are drawn up on computer. They then have to be printed out and six copies made, at considerable expense, to be submitted to the planning authority. The planners then have to scan on to computer the printed applications. It’s a similar situation for any third party submissions. A fully on-line system for smaller applications can eliminate the significant costs of this cumbersome procedure.”

The Minister acknowledged that an on-line system was suitable for smaller applications, but that, at present, there remained issues for larger applications due to map and drawing sizes and large accompanying documents.

“I would like to commend Dublin City Council for the enormous work staff have put into developing their on-line system. Mayo county Council has also taken the initiative in leading the way. I would hope that other councils will be able to follow their lead - and, by doing so, I believe they will be able to save money and make their planning system more efficient” - ended the Minister.


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