How to make an observation on a strategic infrastructure development with An Bord Pleanála
What planning applications are made directly to An Bord Pleanála?
Applications for planning permission for major infrastructure developments are called strategic infrastructure development applications. These applications are made directly to An Bord Pleanála by local authorities for developments such as:
- Railway lines
- Other major facilities, for example, hospitals
You have the right to see all strategic infrastructure development applications made to An Bord Pleanála. You can also make an observation on these applications. You must do this within the specified timeframe and pay the fee.
How do I find out about planning applications for strategic infrastructure developments?
Before applying for planning permission for a strategic infrastructure development, the applicant must:
- Put up a site notice
- Publish the proposed application in at least one local newspaper that is circulated in the area
The site notice must:
- Give the applicant’s name
- Give details about the type and location of the proposed development
- State if an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is needed and if it has been prepared
- State if a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) is needed and if one has been prepared
- State where the application, EIAR or NIS can be viewed and where you can buy copies of these
- State that an application will be made to An Bord Pleanála for planning permission or approval, depending on the case
- State the decisions An Bord Pleanála can make on the application
- State that the public and prescribed bodies, can make observations on the proposed application to An Bord Pleanála
When An Bord Pleanála receives applications for strategic infrastructure developments, they publish them on their website in their weekly list of new planning applications.
You can also see all the documents submitted with a planning application for a strategic infrastructure development:
- On the applicant’s website. This website should be listed in the newspaper notice and on the site notice.
- At An Bord Pleanála, or your local authority’s offices. You can view paper copies of planning applications at these offices for at least 6 weeks. You can view them for free or you can buy a copy.
How do I make an observation on an application?
You can make an observation on applications for planning permission for strategic infrastructure developments. You can do this online or in writing.
If you are making an observation in writing, you can post or deliver it to An Bord Pleanála. If you are delivering the observation in person, you should give it to a member of staff at An Bord Pleanála. Do not leave your observation in the letterbox, or email it, as these observations will be invalid.
An Bord Pleanála has an observation form (docx) to help you make your observation. They also have information about how to make an observation online.
What is a valid observation?
To make a valid observation, you must include:
- Your name and postal address
- The name and address of the planning agent acting for you, if you are using a planning agent
- Details of the application you want to make an observation on, so the Bord can identify it. For example, include the name and address of the application or the An Bord Pleanála case reference number.
- Your reasons for making the observation and anything to support these reasons
You must make your observation before the deadline and pay the fee. You normally have at least 6 weeks from the notice date to make an observation on a strategic infrastructure development. But, you should check the timeline on the applicant’s site notice.
Your submission or observation will be acknowledged by An Bord Pleanála and you must be notified of their decision.
What happens if my observation is invalid?
If your observation is invalid, all your documents will be returned to you and you will be refunded your fee by cheque. You can re-submit your observation once you still meet the requirements and are within the timeframe.
What can I comment on?
Your comments must be based on planning considerations, not on personal likes, dislikes or grievances. Planning considerations include:
- National and regional guidelines and ministerial directives
- Policies and objectives of the development plan
- Policies and objectives of any local plan
- Local considerations such as site development density, parking provision, traffic hazards, overlooking, effects on residential amenity
- Public health
- Environmental, amenity and shopping impacts
- Other material planning matters
Anyone who has made observations and paid the fee must be informed of the planning decision by An Bord Pleanála.
How long do An Bord Pleanála have to make a decision?
An Bord Pleanála must make a decision on a strategic infrastructure development case within 18 weeks. If they can’t make a decision within this timeframe, they must write to everyone involved in the case with an update.
An Bord Pleanála may not have been able to make a decision within the timeframe because:
- There was an oral hearing on the case
- They needed more information on the case to make a decision
When a decision is made, you will be sent a letter to let you know the decision.
How much does it cost to make an observation?
The fee for making an observation on a planning application for strategic infrastructure projects is €50. If you are making a submission for a prescribed body, there is no fee.
An Bord Pleanála has a guide to making an observation on a strategic infrastructure development as well as information about how to make an observation online.