An Bord Pleanála

Introduction

An Bord Pleanála is the national planning appeals board. It is an independent body which was set up to operate an open and impartial planning appeal system.

If your local authority (planning authority) accepts your application for planning permission, it will review the application and any submissions or observations on it and make a decision.When the local authority makes a decision, any participant in the application can appeal that decision to An Pleanála. This appeal must be made within 4 weeks of the date of this decision.

You can only appeal a decision to An Bord Pleanála if you:

  • Applied to the planning authority for the proposed development. This is called a first-party appeal.
  • Made a written submission or observation to the planning authority about the proposed development at an earlier stage and a copy of the acknowledgement you received from the planning authority. This is called a third-party appeal.

The Board deals with:

From time to time the Board may deal with new matters and other matters may be transferred or discontinued. The current functions of the Board are listed on pleanala.ie.

It is responsible for determining appeals under:

Rules

Membership of the Board

The membership of the Board is determined by the Planning and Development Acts 2000–2019.

A Chairperson of the Board, holds office for 7 years and can be re-appointed for a second or subsequent term of office. The Chairperson is appointed by the Government.

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government appoints up to 9 other Board members. Normally, Board members are proposed by 4 groups of organisations representing professional, environmental, development, local government, rural and local development and general interests. Board members are appointed by the Minister. Sometimes, one member of the Board can be a civil servant appointed by the Minister. Board members normally hold office for 5 years and can 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. The Board is supported by an administrative staff and a professional staff of planning officers and planning inspectors.

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, it is an offence to try and influence the decision of any member of the Board in relation to a planning appeal. Members of the Board, its employees and consultants are legally obliged to declare certain interests. This is to avoid any conflict of interest arising during the appeal process.

The Minister for Housing, Planning, 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. Normally, a minimum of 2 or 3 Board members are needed to make decisions 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 considered all the material before it. This includes submissions from the public and the planning inspector's report and recommendation.

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 matters that are outside its remit, such as personal grievances or attempts to delay a development.

The Board aims to make a decision on a planning appeal within 18 weeks, where appropriate. However, it is not always possible to meet this deadline. The Board may inform all parties involved in the appeal. Different time periods may apply in other case types. More information can be found on pleanala.ie.

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 on a point of law. In these situations, the High Court will judge if the Board followed due process in reaching its decision, but will not look at the planning merits of an appeal.

Oral hearings

An oral hearing is a public meeting to allow relevant issues in a case to be discussed and examined. Generally, an oral hearing is only held if it will help the inspector to understand a particularly complex case, or if there are significant national or local issues involved. Applicants, appellants or the planning authority involved in the appeal can request an oral hearing on a planning appeal. In certain cases, the Board will ask a planning inspector will to hold an oral hearing. 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 to decided cases files

The Board aims to make the planning process as open as possible. Details of new and decided cases are available at pleanala.ie. Anyone can inspect the entire file on an appeal for at least 5 years after the appeal is decided.

How to apply

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

An Bord Pleanála also has easy-to-read guides with information on making a planning appeal, making an observation on a planning appeal and requesting an oral hearing on 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
D01 V902

Tel: (01) 858 8100
Locall: 1890 275 175
Fax: (01) 872 2684
Page edited: 20 December 2019