The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 was signed into law on 26 July.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has commenced various provisions of the Act with effect from 19 August 2010. Most of the other provisions of the Act are commenced with effect from 28 September 2010. The remaining sections will be commenced at a later date.

Amongst the provisions commenced with effect from 19 August 2010 are:

  • amendments to existing provisions on extending periods of planning permission
  • amendments to existing provision for penalties
  • certain amendments regarding environmental impact assessments

In conjunction with the above commencement, the Minister has made Regulations effective from 19 August 2010 providing for revised procedural arrangements for the making of an application for an extension of planning permission under the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the Act.

The Act provides for a number of amendments to existing legislation on zoning for planning purposes and seeks to encourage targeted investment on infrastructure by the State and further modernisation of land zoning. The Act also provides for closer alignment between the National Spatial Strategy, Regional Planning Guidelines, development plans and local area plans.

The Act contains a number of technical amendments to existing planning law including:

  • amendments to procedures for An Bord Pleanala including improved procedures for cost recovery in respect of costs associated with strategic infrastructure projects
  • changes in respect of the planning requirements for operation of quarries
  • detailed provisions to allow for the granting of 'substitute consent' in certain circumstances by An Bord Pleanala. This will arise where the original planning permission was issued without compliance with appropriate environmental impact assessment requirements.
  • provision for implementation of the Law Reform Commission’s recommendation on Multi-Unit Developments (MUDS), as they relate to planning
  • provisions to allow planning authorities to refuse permission where the applicant has previously carried out a substantial unauthorised development or has been convicted of an offence under the Planning Acts
  • updating of penalties for offences
  • increased the legal effect for Ministerial guidelines
  • provision for the extension of planning permission in certain circumstances where substantial works have not been carried out