Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
On 30 May 2017, the then Government designated 284 hectares of land at Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) under Section 166 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) for the establishment of a strategic development zone for developments which may include—
(a) commercial activities including the development of infrastructure to support aviation including air cargo logistics facilities, aircraft hangars, maintenance and repair facilities, and airline and flight services,
(b) the provision of hotel and conference facilities,
(c) the development of any commercial or employment activity that, in the opinion of the first local authority having regard to the proper planning and sustainable development of its local authority area, requires to be located within the strategic development zone and cannot be reasonably accommodated at any other location in either the local authority area of the first local authority situated outside of the strategic development zone or the local authority area of any of the other local authorities in the Northern and Western Regional Assembly Area, and
(d) the provision of supporting transport infrastructure.
The preparation of a planning scheme for an SDZ is a function of the relevant development agency, under Section 168 of the Act. In this case Mayo County Council is the designated development agency.
On 9 September 2019, the planning authority made the IWAK SDZ Planning Scheme. Further details are available on Mayo County Council's website at the following link: www.mayococo.ie. Further to the making of the planning scheme, the planning authority must grant permission for any development which is consistent with the planning scheme, with no further appeal to An Bord Pleanála against the decision of the planning authority.
As the designated development agency, delivery of this project is a matter in the first instance for Mayo County Council.
Where a revision to the boundary of the SDZ area and/or new types of development that may be established in the area are sought, it would be necessary to seek Government approval for a new designation for the area as an SDZ in line with Section 166 of the Act, followed by the preparation and adoption of a new planning scheme before any submissions for planning permission could be considered in line with the new planning scheme.
Alternatively, an application for planning permission for development located outside the SDZ area could, at any time, be submitted to Mayo County Council for consideration under the provisions of Section 34 of the Act.