The full outline of the proposed Planning and Development Bill is available at the link below:
Link to the Bill.
Among the main provisions in the Bill will be:
- Strengthened legal status for Ministerial guidelines: Ministerial guidelines
and policy directives will be upgraded to ‘National Planning Policy Statements’
and ‘National Planning Policy Guidance’. These will be approved by
Government. Alignment of other planning documents with these will be
- Amended focus and lifespan of Local Development Plans: these will be
extended from six years to ten years, with a review after Year 5. Plans will be
more strategic in nature. They will give a strong sense of what is being
planned for particularly areas before any planning applications emerge. This
will help ensure that public engagement and major local debate is focused on
the plan-making rather than planning application stage. Local Area Plans will
be replaced by specific types of area-based plans to meet particular needs
(Urban Area Plans; Priority Area Plans; Joint Area Plans; Strategic
Development Zones/Urban Development Zones).
- Statutory mandatory timelines for all consent processes, including An
Bord Pleanála (ABP) decisions, to bring certainty to the planning
consent process: timelines are being introduced for appeals and consents
applications made to ABP (including Strategic Infrastructure Developments). Where ABP fails to make decisions with these timelines, it will be subject to
fines. The exact timelines will be included in the finalised Bill. It is intended
that the timelines for ABP will be introduced on a phased basis, starting with
those for Strategic Infrastructure Developments (including energy projects).
- Changes to Judicial Reviews (JRs) of planning decisions: there will be
timelines for various steps in the Judicial Review process. ABP will be able to
correct an error of fact or law in a planning decision and will be able to apply
for a stay on the determination of JR proceedings whilst making such
corrections. The Bill will bring clarity to the role of different parties in accessing
justice. In the case of applications for JRs by an organisation, these will have
to be taken by an individual or individuals.
- A re-structuring of An Bord Pleanála: the agency will be re-named An
Coimisiún Pleanála and its decision-making and governance structures
separated. It will consist of Planning Commissioners (consisting of a Chief
Planning Commissioner and up to 14 full-time Planning Commissioners), who
will replace the Chairperson and Board Member roles. A new Governing
Executive (led by a Chief Executive) will be responsible for the organisation’s
governance and organisation.
The draft Planning and Development Bill 2022, when enacted, will bring greater
clarity, consistency and certainty to how planning decisions are made. It will make
the planning system more coherent and user-friendly for the public and planning
practitioners. Public participation, which is a hallmark of the current planning system,
will remain a central component. These changes will enable appropriate
development to be planned and executed with a degree of confidence and certainty
about how and when a planning consent decision will be made. Where infrastructure
such as housing is needed and is appropriate, it will happen with greater certainty
and speed. These changes will provide greater policy certainty about the framework
in which planning decisions are made.
It is intended that from a policy perspective, this review will result in:
- debate on the scale of housing requirements (in line with objectives of
compact urban growth and environmental sustainability) happening at the
plan-making rather than planning application stage. It will facilitate greater
clarity and long-term visibility of planning outcomes.
- adequate account is taken of the needs of the future population of new and
expanded communities, as well as the needs of existing communities; and
- appropriate account is taken of the nature of planning decisions, which require
careful balancing of public policy, public participation and environmental
The Draft Planning and Development Bill will be published in January and progress
to pre-legislative scrutiny and enactment in early 2023.
Summary provided by Brendan Buck, BPS Planning & Development Consultants LTD