A (lightly redacted) briefing note for the incoming Minister on the Department and principal issues has been published on www.environ.ie.
The planning section – with some redactions around active land management measures – runs from pages 31 to 36.
It assumes the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016 will retain the priority it had under the previous Government. This Bill provides for the Office of the Planning Regulator and provides the legislative underpinnings for the new National Planning Framework. A further Planning Bill this year is also anticipated.
Some of the other priorities identified for 2016 are:
Ensuring the planning system plays its role in increasing housing supply with a particular focus on the work of the Dublin Housing Supply Coordination Task Force and “cross divisional working” to track development trends, work with local authorities and identify suitable development sites. Implementing the development contribution rebate scheme and vacant site levy are also listed along with progressing initiatives to support active land management.
Preparing a new National Planning Framework complemented by the new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies.
Implementing the An Bord Pleanála Review by assessing and considering its recommendations, some of which are likely to require legislative underpinning in a further Planning Bill later this year.
Improving planning processes – this may be seen to include progressing the development of an online planning application and submission system for local authorities, implementing the recommendations of last year’s planning reviews, finalising exempted development regulations related to Irish Water and giving legislative underpinning to the O’Griaina judgement. This will be supplemented by updated guidance to planning authorities on wind farm developments in relation to EIA. The finalisation of the Wind Energy guidelines and legislative transposition of the updated EIA directive are also discussed.
The ‘root and branch’ review of the planning system set out in the Programme for Government will presumably have to slot into this work programme.
The brief also discusses the Minister’s role under Section 31 and Section 28 guidelines.