Published on Monday 14th March 2016
MEMBER OF REVIEW GROUP WELCOMES PUBLICATION OF AN BORD PLEANÁLA REVIEW BUT GREATER PLANNING REFORM NEEDED
Mary Hughes of HRA Planning welcomes the publication of the report into the Organisational Review of An Bord Pleanála. Appointed as one of the four member Independent Review Group by the Minister of the Environment Community and Local Government, Ms. Hughes (a consultant Town Planner) has been working on the report since last August.
Hughes said; “the publication of the report is timely given the recent publication of a High Court judgement[i] into the handling of a windfarm case in Co. Cork and which was critical of procedures and processes within An Bord Pleanála including for example, the lack of transparency when the Board overturns a recommendation of its inspectorate. The report of the Review Group addresses this specific issue and recommends greater transparency and consistency in the making and communicating of decisions”.
She added; “Undertaking the Review over the last few months has reinforced my view that the planning system in Ireland needs to be radically overhauled. It is cumbersome and bureaucratic and even the best lawyers in the country find it difficult to navigate. Whilst recommendations, including a reduction in the statutory objective timeframes for the work of An Bord Pleanála will go some way to improving efficiencies in the planning system, a more fundamental review of the wider planning framework is required. Hopefully the publication of the report today will begin the conversation on planning reform”.
[i] Balz & Heubach versus An Bord Pleanála, Cork County Council and Cleanrath Windfarm Limited , February 2006