Ireland's planning structures

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National and Regional Planning

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, along with the Government, has responsibility for the overall development of national planning policy and legislation. The Minister also ensures that these policies are implemented at local and regional levels.

Ireland’s National Spatial Strategy and the forthcoming National Planning Framework set out the policy and framework for future development across the country. They create a structure to pull together different Government policies and investment on national and regional development. They steer economic development and investment in housing, water services, transport, communications, energy, health and education infrastructure.

Our three Regional Assemblies are responsible for Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies which coordinate planning and development in their areas.

An Bord Pleanála is Ireland’s independent national planning appeals board. It also deals with the planning process for certain large strategic infrastructure projects.

Local Planning

Planning at local level is the responsibility of our local planning authorities. They prepare development plans, local area plans and planning schemes which guide development in their areas. They are responsible for determining the majority of planning applications and for enforcement. Some local authorities have Strategic Development Zones in their areas. These detailed planning schemes are approved by Government and fast-track the planning process for development which is in line with the scheme.

Local authorities draw up city or county Development Plans which are adopted by their elected members every six years. These Development Plans are informed by national and regional planning strategies and the guidance provided by the Minister and the Government.