An Bord Pleanála
An Bord Pleanála (The Planning Board) 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 accepts your application for planning permission after reviewing it and any submissions or observations on it, your permission will be granted, unless someone appeals the decision to An Bord Pleanála. This appeal must be made within 4 weeks of the date of this decision.
You can only appeal a decision to An Board 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. This is called a third-party appeal.
The Board deals with:
- Planning appeals
- Other appeals
- Local authority infrastructural projects
- Compulsory acquisition of land
- Other matters under the Planning and Development Acts 2000–2011
It is responsible for determining appeals under:
- The Planning and Development Act 2000
- The Building Control Act 1990
- The Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977–1990
- The Air Pollution Act 1987
- Other Acts
The Board also advises the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and
Local Government on planning and development policy.
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 can 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. And, one member of the Board is 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 Acts 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, 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. A minimum of 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 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. However, it is not always possible to meet this deadline. If this is the case, the Board will inform all parties involved in 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. 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.
In certain cases, a planning inspector will hold an oral hearing. Applicants, appellants or the planning authority involved in the appeal can request an oral hearing on a planning appeal. 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. 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.
The Board aims to make the planning process as open as possible. New and decided cases are available online at pleanala.ie. Anyone can inspect the entire file on an appeal for at least 5 years after the appeal is decided. A copy of the Board's order and direction and the inspector's report is also available.
For additional information, you should contact An Bord Pleanála or your local planning authority.
Where to apply