Sunday 15 December 2019

New laws to prevent 'cranks' delaying building projects

Dáil Éireann. Stock picture
Dáil Éireann. Stock picture
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

New laws aimed at preventing 'cranks' from stalling the construction of strategic infrastructure projects are to be introduced.

Ministers have given approval for the drafting of legislation which will help speed up projects that are seen as being in the national interest, including data centres. Apple pulled out of a commitment to build an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, last year, blaming delays in the planning process.

The Government is now proposing a package of measures to streamline judicial reviews of "strategic infrastructure projects".

Among the proposals is a new criteria to assist in determining whether an applicant has sufficient interest to instigate a judicial review of a developments such as roads, railways, large housing developments and hospitals.

Sources said this was likely to take account of how far a person lives from the project they object to.

Certain requirements will also be introduced for organisations that have automatic standing rights to bring judicial review proceedings in respect of strategic infrastructure developments.

There are also plans to reduce the time period for leave to apply for judicial review from eight weeks to four weeks.

"While it is essential that planning decisions go through independent and transparent planning processes, and respect all national and EU environmental and other obligations, it is also in the public interest that decisions are taken in as timely and efficient a manner as possible," a Government spokesperson said.

Irish Independent

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