‘Planning refusals can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions…’

Tom Rowan, Rowan Engineering said that “refusal of planning permission for any development including infrastructural developments, can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of euros of wasted time, effort and money.

Constantly open to challenge

While planning in Ireland is bound by strict regulations, it is constantly open to challenge, especially where a development might have environmental concerns linked to it.

These challenges come about primarily due to a small number of factors such as difficulties with the Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIAR) or similar, or a legal challenge or where “real” stakeholder engagement was lacking”.

Rowan, who specialise in forensic and environmental engineering, saw a need to develop a team of experts to help ensure that planning developments have every chance of success.

As well as having professionals in planning and environmental services, Rowan has brought together independent specialists in planning and environmental law and stakeholder engagement to add to its overall offering.

Growing number of interested parties

“As our planning and environmental regulatory context gets more complex and more open to challenge, applications are now being given more attention from a growing number of interested parties," said Rowan.

"This increased level of interest in the planning and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is beneficial to society in that it drives quality and comprehensiveness, but it can bring its challenges and an increased likelihood for objections, lengthy planning time frames, the potential for legal challenges and an ultimate refusal of planning permission.

"We in Rowan had the environmental and engineering expertise but we saw a growing requirement for legal and stakeholder experience in our planning applications and so we have brought together a specialist team which consists of Elva Carbery an independent legal consultant and Kieran O'Byrne of ECCL.”

Significant cost

Speaking about the announcement Carbery said that “legal challenges can spell delay, significant cost and uncertainty for developments. Early legal engagement and working with project teams to understand issues at the application stage, assists in correctly structuring application documents, addressing issues and legally proofing from the outset.

"This approach benefits applications because it sets a framework for decision makers to make decisions that are robust and put those projects in the best place to withstand any potential judicial review challenge".

“Real empathetic engagement that brings stakeholders on the planning journey with a development can lead to a shortening of what could be a protracted planning process”, said O'Byrne.

“Real stakeholder engagement where stakeholders are listened to and their issues and concerns are taken into consideration is imperative for proper planning and vital to get a project through the system with as little delay as possible.”

“Together we believe we have the expertise to guide clients through the sometimes-challenging planning environments by careful scoping and integration of the environmental, and economic, needs of the project and our client’s, engaging with the right stakeholders at the right time, and advising on solutions to planning refusals and challenges,” concluded Rowan.