Review of planning legislation, led by the Attorney General, is aimed at improving the planning process; Planning Advisory Forum is made up of wide range of stakeholders and will input into the review; Establishment of forum is a crucial action in Housing for All.

Minister of State for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke TD chaired the first meeting of the newly established Planning Advisory Forum recently. Housing for All, the government’s national plan for housing, committed to the establishment of the forum.

The forum’s first priority will be to input into the comprehensive review and consolidation of planning legislation that is being led by the Office of the Attorney General (AGO). 

Increased clarity

The aim of this review is to bring increased clarity and to streamline the Planning and Development Act, 2000, given that it is 20 years since its enactment. The review is due to be finalised by September 2022 to allow updated legislation to be enacted by December 2022. It was also committed to under Housing for All.

The forum’s primary aim is to advise the minister on the evolving policy and legal agenda relating to planning matters. It is comprised of representatives from the public sector, business, environmental, social and other sectors. This diversity of stakeholders will ensure all voices have a platform when the forum meets on a regular basis to exchange views on evolving policy, draft planning guidance and to discuss the planning legislative agenda.

Minister Burke said: “I am delighted to have chaired the first meeting of the Planning Advisory Forum today and to have had a chance to meet with all members who represent a broad range of sectors.

"In September, the government published Housing for All, our plan to build a sustainable housing system. Any such system cannot be achieved without a robust, efficient and equitable planning system which supports the delivery of housing and critical infrastructure to ensure we can serve our growing communities.

“The current Planning and Development Act is over two decades old and whilst it has been adjusted, altered and amended on many occasions, this is a real opportunity to take a step back and looks at ways to improve its functioning.

“As minister with responsibility for planning, I felt it was important to get the views of all stakeholders, especially those with practical experience of engaging with the planning system.

"I want to hear their views on which elements of our current system are working well, and which elements need to be reviewed. I am particularly concerned about delays encountered with planning, and what the system can do to support the reduction of any unnecessary delays, considering the urgent need for sustainable housing and large-scale infrastructure projects at present.” 

At its meeting held just before Christmas, the forum was given an overview of the planning related element of Housing for All, the government’s national plan for housing to 2030; an update on the introduction of e-planning; and an overview of the AGO-led review of planning legislation.