Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
697. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if an extension or grace period will be granted for those with planning permission due to expire in the coming months but who are behind schedule due to the standing down of the construction sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18664/21]
In light of the impacts of the Covid-19 emergency, the Government, on 29 March 2020, made an Order under section 251A of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the Act), which resulted in the extension of time for a range of specified or appropriate periods and timelines in the Planning Acts and associated planning regulations. Further orders were signed on 16 April 2020 and 9 May 2020, the last of which expired on 23 May 2020. The three Orders had the combined effect of extending the relevant planning periods and timelines, including the duration of planning permissions, by an aggregate of 56 days/8 weeks during the time period in which they have effect. Accordingly, on foot of these Orders, the validity of a planning permission has now been extended by a further 8 weeks.
Under section 42 of the Act, the holder of planning permission may apply to the planning authority for an extension to the period of permission, prior to the expiration of that permission. On application, the authority shall extend the appropriate period by such additional period not exceeding 5 years as the authority considers requisite to enable the development to which the permission relates to be completed, provided that, the development was commenced before the expiration of the permission, substantial works were carried out and the development will be completed within a reasonable time.
If an extension to planning permission has been previously granted, the only circumstance in which the holder of a planning permission may be granted a second extension of duration is in respect of a development that relates to 20 or more houses subject to the development being completed within 5 years of the originally extended permission or by 31 December 2021 (as extended by the Section 251A Orders from last year), whichever first occurs.
On 30 March 2021, the Government published its latest response to managing Covid-19 - Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead, which has enabled the recommencement of residential construction projects as part of the initial easing of the Covid Level 5 restrictions further to the recent lockdown, effective from 12 April last.My officials are presently engaging with the Office of the Attorney General with respect to the potential to bring forward additional legislative amendments to provide for a further extension of duration of permissions, with particular respect to construction delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but which, on advice, may only benefit extension of duration proposals that screen out for environmental impact assessment or appropriate assessment.