An Bord Pleanála have published their annual report and accounts for 2018.
Headline figures show:
- a 6% increase in cases received;
- a 32% increase in cases decided;
- a 10% decrease in cases on hand at year end;
- 105 Strategic Infrastructure Development applications lodged;
- 44 Strategic Housing Development applications lodged;
- 99 vacant site levy appeals;
2018 was the first full year of the operation of the new Strategic Housing Development procedure. This procedure was introduced in 2017 and provides for an application to be made directly to the Board for housing developments of more than 100 houses, or 200 bed spaces. This fast track system is a key part of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan.
The Board decided all 39 valid applications received within the 16 week statutory period. In fact the average time taken to decide the cases was 14 weeks. Of the 39 applications, 27 were granted. This amounts to permission for 3,284 houses, 3,818 apartments and 4,479 student bed spaces.
2018 also saw the Board publish its Strategic Plan for the next 5 years. The plan is built around the four goals of:
- Protecting and enhancing the Board’s reputation for independence, impartiality, trust, integrity and transparency;
- Making robust, timely , transparent, high quality decisions which support proper planning and development;
- Improving the Board’s service to meet changing customer expectation; and
- Fostering a motivated, resilient and responsive organisation.
41 judicial review proceedings were commenced in 2018. This represents 1.4% of the decisions issued in the year and a 5 year low. Over the previous 5 years the average rate of judicial review proceedings commenced was 1.9%. Of the 48 judicial review proceedings completed in 2018, 12 resulted in the decision of the Board being quashed.
Overall, this translates as just 0.5% of the Board’s decisions being quashed as a result of court proceedings.
Environmental Impact Assessment
The EU (Planning and Development) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2018 commenced on 1 September 2018 giving effect to the amended Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2014. Changes introduced by the Regulations include more formalised screening procedures to determine whether EIA is required in respect of development consent proposals.
By the end of 2018, An Bord Pleanála implemented new procedures to carry out a preliminary examination of the nature, scale and location of the proposed development for all appeals, referrals and applications involving sub-threshold development where an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is not submitted.
Where likely significant effects on the environment cannot be excluded, a screening determination is required using expanded selection criteria. The applicant is notified of the outcome within 8 weeks of the receipt of specified information which must be provided by the developer to inform that determination.
The Regulations also introduced a requirement for Board decisions relating to EIA development to include the reasoned conclusion on the significant effects of the project on the environment. These new procedures are now applied to all relevant cases.
Source – An Bord Pleanála