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Ireland's planning system to go digital within 18 months

“It is hoped that planning authorities will have the ability to accept planning applications online by end 2022.”

THE PLANNING SYSTEM should be going digital within 18 months, government agencies have told The Journal.

The system for submitting routine planning permission applications and appeals is still largely paper-based, but online options for both should be available by the end of 2022 at the latest.

Ordinary planning applications are the responsibility of the 31 city and county councils, few of which currently accept them online.

The Local Government Management Agency, which is in charge of so-called “ePlanning”, says “it is hoped that planning authorities will have the ability to accept planning applications online by end 2022”.

The Department of Housing gave an earlier date, saying “it is envisaged that the LGMA’s rollout of ePlanning nationwide to all planning authorities will be completed on a phased basis by end Q2 2022”. In other words, by this time next year.

A centralised, LGMA-run website already exists to search existing planning applications.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for An Bord Pleanála told The Journal that normal planning appeals should be accepted online “by the end of this year”, subject to the planning legislation being amended to allow for it.

It has been possible to submit observations on a strategic housing development online since last November.

Work on the Bord’s “Plean-IT” project began in 2014 and has been criticised for slow progress.

The government’s Rebuilding Ireland Strategy had called for “accelerated roll-out of e-planning across local government sector and ABP [An Bord Pleanála] by the end of 2017.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said, “The ePlanning project which is currently being developed seeks to integrate the IT systems of the 31 planning authorities using a single online portal allowing for the online submission of planning applications, appeals, submissions and associated fees.

“Once fully rolled out, ePlanning will provide an online option for the public to engage with the planning system, in addition to the paper based system.”

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work is the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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About the author:

CJ McKinney  / Legal Affairs Journalist

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