Thursday, 5 May 2022
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
147. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the changes that can be introduced in order to speed up the planning permission process for other forms of microgeneration aside from solar panels, such as wind turbines and hydropower; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22403/22]
148. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on replicating the microgeneration process in Northern Ireland in which projects do not require additional planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22404/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 147 together.
Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the Act), all development, unless specifically exempted under the Act or associated regulations, requires planning permission.
Schedule 4 of the Act and Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, (the Regulations) sets out various exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission. Any such exemptions are subject to compliance with any general restrictions on exemptions set out in the Act or the Regulations and to the specific conditions set out in each class of exempted development in Schedule 2 of the Regulations.
Significant planning exemptions are already provided for in respect of microgeneration type development. Class 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides for household related exemptions for wind turbines, solar panels, ground heat pump systems and air source heat pumps subject to certain siting and size conditions.
Class 56 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides for exemptions in the industrial/ light industrial sector in respect of combined heat and power systems, wind turbines, solar panels, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and biomass boilers subject to certain siting and size conditions.
Class 18 of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides for exemptions in the agricultural sector in respect of combined heat and power systems, wind turbines, solar panels, ground source heat pump systems, air source heat pumps and biomass boilers, again subject to certain siting and size conditions.
Exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of specific forms of development are provided for, when they are considered to be consistent with proper planning and sustainable development.
These exemptions provided for in the Regulations are kept under regular review, in consultation with key statutory stakeholders, including the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.
Other developments outside the scope of the exemptions would need to seek planning permission under section 34 of the Act. Planning authorities are generally required to determine planning applications within 8 weeks of receipt, except where “further information” is required.