Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Question 460: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that the memorandum of understanding with the IMF-EU states that the Government will conduct a study on the economic impact of eliminating the cap on the size of retail premises with a view to enhancing competition and lowering prices for consumers and discuss implementation of its policy implications with the commission service; if any legislation is planned to effect these changes in planning laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8236/12]
The draft Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Retail Planning which issued for public consultation on 21 November 2011 are aimed at:
· ensuring that the planning system plays a key role in supporting competitiveness in the retail sector;
· advancing choice for the consumer while promoting and supporting the vitality and viability of city and town centres; and,
· contributing to a high standard of urban design and encouraging a greater use of sustainable transport.
In response to the requirement in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland for an economic analysis of the potential impact on competition and consumer prices of eliminating or relaxing the floorspace cap on retail premises, my Department and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation commissioned Forfás to undertake an evidence-based and focused study to analyse the potential economic impacts of eliminating the cap on the size of retail premises. The draft Guidelines take into account the recommendations of the Forfás Study Review of the Economic Impact of the Retail Cap which is published on my Department's website at www.environ.ie. Public consultation period closed on 20 December 2011 and a total of 102 submissions are now being considered for purposes of finalising the Guidelines.