Covid-19 Planning FAQs
The Effect of National Level 5 Restrictions on the Planning System
On Thursday 22nd October 2020, the Government, taking into account public health advice, brought into effect National Level 5 restrictions with regard to Covid-19 for a six-week period.
In order to ensure the continued and safe operation of all aspects of the statutory planning system, Regulations published under the Health Act 1947 (Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 448 of 2020)1 have identified planning-related activity within the schedule of what is considered to be ‘essential services’: “statutory planning system activities, insofar they cannot be carried out remotely”.
The SI 448 Regulations further identify, within the list of reasons for a person to leave their place of residence, purposes that include travelling to: “attend the offices of a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála to engage in a statutory planning process (including making or inspecting a planning application or appeal, making an observation or submission or participating in a Development Plan process) or inspect a site notice (within the meaning of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (No. 30 of 2000)).”
There is no specified restriction on the distance that persons engaging in a statutory planning process, may travel.
The above provisions, and the continued operation of the planning system, are supported by the City and County Management Association (CCMA), the local government sector, An Bord Pleanála and the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR), all of whom which have put extensive operational measures in place to safeguard the public health of both their staff and customers, while ensuring that the delivery of planning services remain operational.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQs below are intended to provide further clarity in relation to questions that might arise in the context of National Level 5 Restrictions and the planning system.