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An Bord Pleanála

Introduction

An Bord Pleanála (The Planning Board) is the national planning appeals board. It is an independent body which was set up by the Government to operate an open and impartial planning appeal system.

Anyone applying for planning permission and anyone who made written submissions or observations to the planning authority on a planning application, can appeal a subsequent planning decision to An Bord Pleanála.

The Board deals with planning appeals, other appeals, referrals, local authority infrastructural projects, compulsory acquisition of land and certain other matters under the Planning and Development Acts 2000–2011. It is responsible for determining appeals under the Building Control Act 1990; the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977–1990; and the Air Pollution Act 1987. The Board also advises the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government on planning and development policy.

Rules

Membership of the Board

The membership of the Board is determined by the Planning and Development Acts 2000–2011. A Chairperson of the Board, holds office for 7 years and may be re-appointed for a second or subsequent term of office. The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government appoints 9 other Board members. Eight are selected by 4 groups of organisations representing professional, environmental, development, local government, rural and local development and general interests. One member of the Board is a civil servant appointed by the Minister. Board members normally hold office for 5 years and may be re-appointed for a second or subsequent term. The Planning and Development Act 2000 allows for more Board members to be appointed, if the volume of cases makes this necessary. They are supported by an administrative staff and a professional staff of planning officers and planning inspectors.

Under the Planning Acts 2000, it is an offence to try and influence the decision of any member of the Board in relation to a planning appeal. There are also legal obligations on members of the Board, its employees and consultants to declare certain interests. This is to avoid any conflict of interest arising during the appeal process. The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government has the authority to make decisions about general planning and development policy and the Board must take them into account when making their decisions. However, the Minister cannot influence the Board in relation to a particular appeal.

How the Board makes decisions

To make sure that all the Board's decisions are fair and impartial, no one person can make decisions about a planning appeal. The quorum for the Board is three members and if the case is particularly sensitive or complex, all members are normally involved in the decision-making process.

The Board only make their decision after they have studied all the evidence. This includes submissions from the public and the planning inspector's report and recommendation. In most cases, the decision of the Board follows the recommendation of the planning inspector but this is not always the case. If the Board's decision differs from the inspector's recommendation, the Board must give reasons for this in their decision order. The Board can dismiss an appeal if it decides that it is based on non-planning considerations, such as personal grievances or attempts to delay a development.

The Board aims to make a decision on an appeal within 18 weeks. Due to the large number of planning appeals it receives, it is not always possible to meet this deadline. If this is the case, it will inform all parties to the appeal.

Once a decision is reached in a planning appeal, the Board will not discuss the pros and cons of the decision. All decisions are final and can only be challenged by judicial review in the High Court. This process will judge whether the Board followed due process in reaching its decision and will not include an examination of the planning merits.

Oral hearings

In certain cases, a planning inspector will hold an oral hearing. This may be at the request of a valid appellant or it may be the decision of the inspector. An oral hearing is generally only held if it will help the inspector to understand a particularly complex case, or if there are significant national or local issues involved. Some oral hearings are held to determine the motives behind an appeal. The inspector will decide on the order of the speakers and the hearing is usually quite informal.

Local authority development plans

The Board must make sure that all planning decisions stick to principles of proper planning and sustainable development. If they feel that a planning authority has not taken these principles into sufficient consideration, the Board has the authority to go against the provisions of a development plan. Generally, this would only happen where the proposed development is of local or national importance. The Board tries to strike a balance between environmental and economic considerations when they are determining appeals. In exceptional cases, they will take issues of economic development and job creation into account when making a decision.

Public access

The Board aims to make the planning process as open as possible. The entire file on an appeal can be inspected by any member of the public for at least 5 years starting on the third working day after the appeal is decided. A copy of the Board's order and direction and the inspector's report is also available.

How to apply

Find out more about getting planning permission and how to make a planning appeal.

For additional information, you should contact An Bord Pleanála or your local planning authority.

Where to apply

An Bord Pleanála

64 Marlborough Street
Dublin 1
Ireland

Tel:(01) 858 8100
Locall:1890 275 175
Fax:(01) 872 2684
Homepage: http://www.pleanala.ie
Email: bord@pleanala.ie

Page edited: 7 July 2015

Language

Gaeilge

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