top of page

Planning Bill - the opposite of what we need

Sir, – Your editorial summarises the thrust of the Planning and Development Bill – less devolution of planning, reducing third-party participation in the planning process and limiting judicial review (“The Irish Times view on the ESRI report on housing: Ireland should look at the UK’s experience”, January 31st).

This is the opposite of the core European values of subsidiarity, democracy and the rule of law.

In Europe, there is more devolution, more public participation and the same rights to judicial review as we currently have, based on the Aarhus Convention.

The ESRI report, Contrasting Housing Supply in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom (Research Series Number 175, January 2024), omits to address the differences between the common law systems of the UK and Ireland and the Napoleonic code law of mainland Europe.

The UK and Ireland are outliers from Europe because our planning systems are entirely discretionary for the owners of land – the development plans are only guidance and produce unexpected results.

In Europe, complying with development plans is mandatory. Their plans are produced through extensive public participation, at a local level and set out the rules for what will be permitted on any given site, giving certainty and reducing land speculation.

Contrast this to Ireland, where development plans give no certainty to the citizen, the developer or the planning authority as to what will be built on a particular site.

The problem with planning in Ireland is its unpredictability, due to its discretionary nature.

The real reasons for the lack of housing supply are better identified in the report as constraints on the availability of finance, decline in government investment in housing, land speculation and the need for better regulation.

We must indeed learn from looking at the successes of other countries, rather than making more of our own mistakes. – Yours, etc,

Robin Mandal,

Dublin 6.


bottom of page