Planning in Ireland

At a policy level, planning means ensuring that appropriate development occurs in the right locations and at the right time. The Irish planning system is designed to provide the social, economic and physical infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of individuals in such a way that also protects the natural and built environment. This system guides Ireland’s planning authorities, who subsequently apply these policies in assessing individual applications. The variety of laws, guidelines and processes guiding Irish planning can be summarised as follows:

  • Ireland’s planning processes – planning applications, appeals, enforcement, exemptions etc.
  • Ireland’s planning structures – national policies and guidelines, regional planning, development plans etc.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is responsible for regulating the use of the foreshore through a system of leasing and licensing.

From a house extension to a Strategic Development Zone (an area of land that is proposed to contain developments  of economic or social importance to the State e.g. Adamstown or Clonburris in County Dublin), Irish planning processes are largely summarised by the Planning and Development Act and by the Planning and Development Regulations. These pieces of legislation merge most of Ireland’s planning processes together. They set out:

  • The procedures for applying for and obtaining planning permission
  • They detail types of development which are exempt from planning processes
  • The special requirements for protected structures, conservation areas and areas of special planning control
  • They set out development plan processes at local and regional level
  • They give structure to planning and development contribution fees
  • They establish and govern the operation of An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s planning appeals body

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