Friday, April 17, 2020
On 29 March, 2020, the Government made Orders under Section 251A(5) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as amended (“the Act”) which resulted in an extension of time for a range of timelines and specified/appropriate periods under this Act and associated legislation. The time periods in question were extended in duration from 29 March 2020 to 20 April 2020 inclusive.
On 16th April 2020, prior to the expiry of the original Order under Section 251A, a new Order was made by the Government, to extend the period of the original Order until Saturday 9th May 2020 inclusive. This period could be further extended as many times as is considered necessary, until 9th November 2020.
An Order under Section 251A means that the time periods specified for any statutory process in the Act and certain related legislation are extended for the duration of the time period specified by the Order i.e. by a total period of 6 weeks until the 9th May 2020 (or such other period specified in any further new order under Section 251A of the Act).
Planning applications can still be lodged with Planning Authorities. An extended Order with a duration of six weeks, means that a planning authority will have the normal period of eight weeks, together with an additional period of up to six weeks i.e. up to fourteen weeks in total, to determine a planning application. An interested person will have the normal period of five weeks, together with an additional period of up to six weeks i.e. up to eleven weeks in total, to participate in the planning process.
Planning Applications submitted to a planning authority at least five weeks prior to the date of commencement of the original Order, up to and including Friday 21st February 2020 can be determined by a Planning Authority as these applications have been subject to the minimum period for public consultation. However, the period for deciding these applications may be extended by the duration of the extended Order, i.e. up to a further six weeks.
Any planning application that was submitted to a planning authority after Friday 21st February 2020 cannot be decided by the Planning Authority until after Saturday 9th May (or such other period as prescribed in any new Section 251A Order.)
Any planning application submitted to a planning authority after 29th March 2020 (the date of commencement of the original Order) cannot be decided by the Planning Authority until the five-week period for public participation on the application has been completed, and this cannot be until the expiry of the duration of the extended Order plus at least five weeks i.e. after Saturday 13th June 2020.
A submission may be made on any planning application lodged with a planning authority after Friday 21st February 2020 and for the duration of the extended Order. In addition, after the expiry of the extended Order on 9th May 2020, submissions may be made during the remainder of any applicable five-week period that commenced prior to the commencement of the original Order. In the case of all applications made within the duration of the extended Order, submissions may also be made for a further five-week period, to Saturday 13th June 2020.
The Department of Planning, Housing and Local Government has prepared a useful FAQ document which is available here.
For any queries in relation to this or other Planning and Environmental matters please contact our Planning and Environmental Team.