Following the publication of the outline of the proposed Planning and Development Bill in December 2022, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage published the draft Planning and Development Bill 2022 (the Bill) on 26 January 2023. The Department has confirmed that the Bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny before it is finalised, and has promised that this new legislation will “bring greater clarity, consistency and certainty to how planning decisions are made.”

The Bill seeks to restructure An Bord Pleanála, to be called An Coimisiún Pleanála or the Commission, and to consolidate and refine Irish planning law. The provisions that will be of particular interest to developers and stakeholders include:

  • The introduction statutory mandatory timelines for consent processes, including Commission decisions on Strategic Infrastructure Development. The specific timeframes have yet to be set out;
  • Changes to the Judicial Review process including the introduction of statutory timelines and prohibition of companies registered for less than one year taking JR proceedings; and
  • Reform of Development Plan content and lifespan. Development Plans will include more detail and amongst other measures, a specific housing delivery strategy.

The Bill was published on the same day that RTÉ News highlighted that 28,786 strategic housing development applications await a decision from the Board, according to Mitchell McDermott’s Annual Construction Sector Report.

It is hoped that, once enacted, the Bill will improve the development consenting processes, leading to speedier decision-making and more streamlined judicial review.  

Our Environmental and Planning Team will continue to post updates on the provisions of the Bill. In the meantime, should you require more information on this topic contact Alan Roberts, Partner, Niamh Collins, Solicitor, or any member of A&L Goodbody’s Environmental and Planning team.