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Morgan voices concerns over fast-track planning approvals

2 August, 2007

Speaking following news that 53 projects have applied for fast-track planning approval through the new Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act, Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment Deputy Arthur Morgan voiced concerns on the lack of participation and engagement that members of the public can have in the procedures.

The Louth TD said, "While Sinn Fein agree that drastic changes need to be made to the planning system in Ireland we quite rightly voiced our concerns about the fast-track planning approval procedures that were brought in under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act.

"The Act and it's procedures under the auspices of An Bord Pleanala allow for little or no local input into the process as a whole. It does allow for a local authority to submit a report on a development in their area which includes the views of Councillors however it is not compulsory for the board to actually make any changes to planning requirements based on recommendations of any councillors. It totally undermines public confidence in the planning process.

"The legislation and Strategic Infrastructure Board procedures are designed to facilitate the ramming through of unwanted infrastructure against the democratic wishes of communities and regardless of genuine concerns of those people and communities who are likely to be affected by such developments. Genuine health and safety concerns of individuals are not being taken into account and meanwhile, developers get to go and have a series of meetings with An Bord Pleanala officials.

"Sinn Fein are calling for this ridiculous and undemocratic system to be changed so that the people affected by these developments and their communities can have a say."


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