Planning updates

Planning updates January 2024

An Bord Pleanála 

Delays at An Bord Pleanála may be slowly beginning to resolve. The board has reported reducing its open caseload by a third since May of last year. In a recent statement provided to the Irish Times the board it was targeting ‘a substantive clearance of the excess caseload’ by the end of Q2 2024. This comes as the first two of the twelve Dublin Bus Connects infrastructure corridors have been approved by the Board in the past month. Major infrastructure projects including Metrolink and Galway’s Cross City Link have had oral hearings scheduled. However, despite this progress, applications for thousands of homes and appeals are still stuck waiting for a decision. Alongside this, the restructuring and renaming of the Board and new timelines for deciding applications and appeals are expected in that same timeframe, pending the enactment of the Planning and Development Bill (2023).

Climate Action Plans 2024 

Climate Action Plan 2024 was published in late December of last year. The third annual update to the Climate Action Plan is intended to refine and update the measures required to deliver Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy. The plan acknowledges that Ireland’s emissions fell by just under 2% from 2021-2022, but that more sustained action is needed. Currently, the EPA estimates that if all of the policies and measures in Climate Action Plan 2023 are achieved, the estimated emissions reductions would equate to about 42% by 2030, short of the legally binding target of 51% by 2030. Public Consultation for the plan will commence early this year.

Further news on Local Authority Climate Action Plans is expected in the coming months, as the end of February statutory deadline for the Local Authorities to prepare a plan for their respective administrative areas approaches. Finalised plans will address climate-risks at the local level, address contextual conditions, deliver adaption and mitigation measures and provide strategic direction on the delivery of the national climate objective.

An Bord Pleanála grants Wind Farm on appeal

8 no. wind turbines were granted permission by the Board in County Laois subject to 26 no. conditions. This decision overturns Co. Laois’s previous decision to refuse permission for the wind farm in 2021. The turbines are expected to be 185 metres tall and to be developed by Skatkraft Ireland. Further progression by the Board in the planning process of wind farm development is welcome to move forward with meeting the national Climate Action Plan 2024 target for onshore wind to achieve 9 GW by 2030.

National cycling network

The plan for a new National Cycling Network was published on January 10th. The plan calls for a network of 3,500km oh high quality active travel infrastructure connecting 200 cities, towns, and villages across the island. The network will be made up of 85 corridors, consisting of new and planned greenways, a new network of safe cycle routes along roads and key corridors, and existing and improved Eurovelo and CycleConnects routes. Of the 3,500km, 990km is to be delivered by 2030. Announcing the plan, Minister Ryan warned that the network won’t happen without buy-in from the Local Authorities and councillors, and that those who ‘aren’t part of this team and working together, they will fall behind.’ He identified Galway as an Authority that had fallen behind in provision of cycling infrastructure, questioning ‘Why would Galway not have the same infrastructure to help their kids get to school and improve local access and provide the space?’

Seas of Wexford

The largest SPA in the history of the state has been designated off the cost of Co. Wexford. The Seas of Wexford SPA is larger than Co. Wexford itself, covering 305,000 hectares of marine water. The announcement brings the percentage of protected marine waters around Ireland to almost 10%, in line with European commitments. Adjoining eight existing SPAs, the designation makes a significant contribution to the protection of biodiversity in Ireland’s waters, with over twenty species of now birds protected at the site.

Athenry LAP Approved

The Athenry LAP was approved by the Galway County Councillors on January 9th. The plan will come into effect on February 20th, with the final version of the plan expected to be available online the same day.

Key live consultations per OPR

Draft Ballina Local Area Plan 2024-2030

The Draft Ballina Local Area Plan 2024-2030 in County Mayo has been prepared and is open for inspection and public consultation.

You can make a submission on the Draft Local Area Plan up until 5 PM on Thursday 8th of February 2024.

By Post: ‘Draft Ballina Local Area Plan’, Planning Section, Mayo County Council, Aras an Chontae, Castlebar, Mayo, F23 WF90.

Draft Athlone Joint Urban Area Plan 2024 – 2030

County Roscommon and County Westmeath have proposed to prepare a Joint Urban Area Plan for Athlone which will include Monksland and Bellanamullia. A Strategic Issues Paper which sets out the key planning issues noted regarding Athlone is available online.

You can make a submission on the Issues Paper for the future Joint Urban Area Plan by 3 PM Thursday 1st February 2024.

Post submissions can be sent to either location:

  • Administrative Officer, Planning Department, Westmeath County Council, Áras an Chontae, Mount Street, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 FH4N
  • Forward Planning Unit, Planning Department, Roscommon County Council, Áras an Chontae, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon, F42 V498


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