Independent Planning Regulator needed as a matter of urgency – Stanley
Speaking tonight in the day of the issues surrounding planning corruption, Sinn Féin TD and Local Government Spokesperson Brian Stanley has criticised Minister Alan Kelly in not implementing the recommendations of the Mahon Report, which had far reaching reproach of the way in which Irish planning is granted.
Deputy Stanley said:
“I think we all recognise that the Mahon tribunal did excellent work in revealing the corruption that was involved in planning Dublin over a certain period.
“Neither my party nor indeed the Irish Planning Institute are satisfied that the office of Planning regulator as proposed in the scheme will be as recommended by Mahon, specifically in regard to the regulator’s independence of the Minister which must be an essential prerequisite.
“I am also not satisfied that the planning process is as transformed since Mahon as the Minister has stated.
“There are still controversies regarding recent planning decisions which reflect on the overall process. I am thinking in particular of the Corrib gas pipeline project and the Midlands wind farm proposal. In both cases widespread opposition and objections on various grounds, including in the case of the wind farms from at least one local authority in Westmeath, were basically ignored.
“I have raised with the Minister and his predecessor, the issue of conflicts of interest regarding some members of An Bord Pleanála. It is simply not good enough that people who have been involved in framing controversial proposals, such as the Dublin waste incinerator, can then cross over to the other side and approve the measure as a member of An Bord Pleanála.
“I would ask that all who agree with the need for a genuinely independent planning process to recognise the need for stand-alone legislation to be brought forward to allow the appointment of an independent Planning Regulator.”