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  • Planning Legislation on Quarries comes into force

    The Minister signed the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 (Commencement) (No.3) (Order 2011) on the 16th November 2011. This Order commences sections 74 and 75 of the Planning and Development Act (Amendment) Act 2010 which amends section 261, and insert a new section 261A, into the Planning and Development Act 2000. 

    This new legislation arises from the Derrybrien windfarm case where in 2008, the European Court of Justice ruled that Ireland was in breach of EU law in permitting retention permission for projects accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment. Following the ruling, the Minister issued a Circular which advised that retention permission for developments requiring EIA should not be granted after 3rd July 2008. 

    The “Substitute Consent” procedure in the 2010 Act seeks to provide a mechanism whereby the position in respect of EIA development can be regularized – however leave to apply for consent from An Bord Pleanala is only allowed in exceptional circumstances (i.e. a planning permission found defective by a court).

    In the specific case of quarries there will be a sunset period whereby quarry owners will be given a last opportunity to regularize any unauthorized works without having to meet the exceptional circumstances test.  The Act also seeks to require that such works are regularized under s.74 and s.75 of the Act.

    The implications of Section 74 and 75 involve, inter alia,

    A requirement for local authorities to prepare a complete inventory of all quarries in their jurisdiction.

    Within 9 months of Sections 74 and 75 coming into operation, all planning authorities have to identify the qualifying quarries and determine whether Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Appropriate Assessment (AA) or screening for same was required and, if required, was it carried out

    Where a Planning Authority makes a determination that EIA or AA (or Screening for same) was required, but not carried, out the Planning Authority shall issue notice to the owner or operator of the quarry directing them to apply to the Board for substitute consent in respect of the quarry. Third party participation is provided for as part of this process.

    Quarry operators can request a review by An Board Pleanala of the planning authority’s direction to apply for substitute consent.

    It should be noted that the above assumes that either planning permission was obtained for the quarry or it pre-dates October 1964 and the quarry operator, if required to do so, applied for registration under Section 261.

    Quarries that never had planning permission or failed to register under Section 261 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 will not qualify for substitute consent.

    Improved enforcement provisions contained in the 2010 Act will require local authorities to immediately take enforcement proceedings against quarries which are refused substitute consent or are otherwise non-compliant.

    Published on November 21, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation, Rural Planning; Tagged as: , , ,
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