An Bord Pleanála ignores climate science and Government policy - again -

12th March 2014
Press Release

An Bord Pleanála has shown once again that it is ignoring climate science and Government transport policy in its decision-making on key planning applications.

That's according to Ireland's planning watchdog, An Taisce - The National Trust for Ireland, after the planning appeals board issued two further decisions disregarding climate science and national transport policy.

Dublin Airport Authority has been granted permission to continue using 10,200 long term surface car parking spaces - even though the retention of these spaces is completely incompatible with the Government's Smarter Travel policy.

The last week also saw the planning appeals board approve a drive-through fast foot outlet on the historic Boyne Valley approach to Drogheda, which will see higher levels of car-borne commuting while reducing patronage at long-established restaurants in Drogheda town centre. Again, this is contrary to Government transport policy - as well as damaging the regeneration of Irish towns.

In 2009 the Government adopted progressive targets for transport through "Smarter Travel: A new transport policy for Ireland 2009-2020". The policy set down that:

"there will be a considerable shift to public transport and other sustainable forms of travel", that "the present levels of traffic congestion and travel times will be significantly reduced", "work related commuting by car will be reduced from a current modal share of 65% to 45%", and "the total kilometres travelled by the car fleet in 2020 will not increase significantly from current total car kilometres". These two most recent decisions by An Bord Pleanála follow closely on regressive determinations for retail expansion of the Liffey Valley and Kildare Village shopping centres.

Weak decision-making by An Bord Pleanála has also given local councils comfort to systemically ignore Government transport policy, as evidenced by Kildare Co Co's handling of the Kerry Group campus in Naas and decisions in Limerick on the redevelopment of the Dell site.

There are emerging parallels with the failure of banking regulation in the mid-2000s, concluded An Taisce.

Notes:

Smarter Travel: A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009 – 2020 sets out a series of overriding policy objectives in Chapter 3, summarised as follows:

Future population employment growths will predominantly take place in sustainable compact forms which reduces the need to travel for employment and services; 500,000 more people will take alternative means to commute to work to the extent that the total share of car commuting will drop from 65% to 45%; Alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport will be supported and provided to the extent that these will rise to 55% of total commuter journeys to work; The total kilometres travelled by the car fleet in 2020 will not increase significantly from current levels; A reduction will be achieved on the 2005 figure for Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.