Posted on May 8, 2013 12:00 PM   |   Permanent Link   

Dublin Bay North Labour Party TD Seán Kenny today welcomed the approval by the Government for the preparation of a new Planning and Development Bill to establish a new Planning Regulator.

"The establishment of a Planning Regulator was the most significant recommendation regarding planning made by the Mahon Tribunal when it issued its final report in March 2012. The Government has given its commitment to implement the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal, and today's decision represents a milestone in that regard. I believe the new Planning Regulator will improve the quality of planning in Ireland, increase transparency and accountability and, most importantly, increase public trust in our planning system.

"Proper forward planning that is based on evidence is essential for our country's future. We need to ensure that the decisions we take regarding local and regional development facilitate sustainable development and enhance the lives of our citizens and the communities in which we live. The Planning Regulator will provide an additional and important check on the quality of forward planning decisions.

"In addition, the new Planning Regulator will have functions regarding planning research, education and investigation. I believe that this reforming measure has the capacity to transform the forward planning process in Ireland, and importantly ensure that citizens have greater influence and understanding of the process.

"The implementation of this important recommendation is another tangible reform that will achieve the Government's goal of restoring and maintaining public confidence in our planning system. The independent Planning Regulator will review and assess all forward planning functions by local authorities- such as the drafting of city and county development plans. The Regulator will have the power to advise the Minister to reject or overturn part or all of a plan where it is not up to scratch. This advice will be published. The final decision to act will rest with the Minister of the day, and the Minister will be accountable to the Oireachtas for his or her decision.

"The new Planning Regulator will bring an additional layer of transparency to the planning system, while maintaining democratic accountability which is essential for public trust."