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Update: Further extension of planning timelines under Section 251A of the Planning and Development Act 2000

Monday, May 11, 2020

Further to previous updates, a new Order has been made pursuant to section 251A(5) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (“the Act”). By Order dated 9 May 2020, the timelines and specified/appropriate periods under the Act and associated legislation have been extended until 23 May 2020, bringing the extension of these time periods to a total of eight weeks (56 days).

The Government has made two previous Orders under section 251A(5), dated 29 March 2020 and 16 April 2020 respectively; the latter of which was due to expire Saturday 9 May 2020. Further extensions can be made as many times as is considered necessary, until 9 November 2020.

The effect of an Order under Section 251A is to extend the time periods specified for any statutory process in the Act and certain related legislation for the duration of the time period specified by the Order i.e. by a total period of eight weeks (56 days) until the 23 May 2020 (or such other period specified in any further new order under Section 251A of the Act).

In the case of planning applications lodged with planning authorities, the normal period of eight weeks to determine an application, together with an additional period of up to eight weeks will apply i.e. up to sixteen weeks in total. An interested person will have the normal period of five weeks, together with an additional period of up to eight weeks i.e. up to thirteen weeks in total.

Any planning application submitted to a planning authority after 29 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 27 June 2020.

Similarly, a submission may be made on any planning application lodged with a planning authority after Friday 21 February 2020 and for the duration of the extended Order. In addition, after the expiry of the extended Order on 23 May 2020, submissions may be made during the remainder of any applicable five-week period. In the case of all applications made within the duration of the extended Order(s), submissions may also be made for a further five-week period, to Saturday 27 June 2020.

Separately, where planning permission has previously been granted, the extended Order can extend the length of permission for a period of eight weeks, but only where the length of permission applicable is the five years, under section 40 of the Act. Where the life span of the permission is not subject to the statutory default, the Order will not act to extend the duration

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 matters, please contact our planning team.


Article written with the assistance of Margaret O’Leary, Associate.


Alice Whittaker


Rachel Minch SC


Leonora Mullett