Consultation on the Offaly County Development Plan 2014-2020 An Taisce would like to make the following comments which we request the Planning Authority (PA) take into consideration in the finalisation and adoption of the CDP, including the accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Article 6 Habitats Directive Assessment (HDA). We would also request that the PA make An Taisce known of any further consultation periods regarding the making of this CDP and issue An Taisce with notification of any future proposed amendments to the Draft CDP and notification of the final adopted CDP. Introduction The new CDP will provide a key policy document of central importance for a critical period in Irish society and will form a contract between the PA and the local community embodying a promise to regulate land use in accordance with its policies and objectives1. It is now two decades since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro when scientists warned humanity that ‘no more than a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished’. The worldwide response to these messages from those in a position to bring about change has been almost nil. It is now, therefore, imperative that the new CDP set out a clear, rational, evidence based and plan-led strategy for the future spatial development of the locality to address critical emerging global challenges, most importantly energy scarcity and climate change, and is grounded in the principles of sustainable development. An Taisce asks that the PA review the development plan before final adoption to ensure conciseness, clarity and simplicity in use of language, and that planning terms be explained in an appending glossary. The excessive flexibility inherent in many CDPs is a key factor in the long delays experienced in the planning process. This flexibility is evidenced both vagueness and by ‘let-out’ clauses which causes interpretation problems for the developer, the Councillors, the public, and even the officials. Conclusion The key priority of the CDP must be transition to a low-carbon society and economy and to mitigate the significant risks associated with rising energy costs and climate change adaptation. Business as usual is no longer an option, we can no longer afford to continue the pursuit of the failed short-sighted policy approaches of the past and that our collective future must be different. The international and national economic recession has provided a narrow window of opportunity to take action to concentrate investment and focus policy on the transition to a post-oil low-carbon locally resilient society. This is the major challenge of our time and will require urgent understanding of the nature of the challenges; no shortage of decisive political leadership, a radical change of direction together with robust and, in some instances, policy implementation which will be politically unpopular in the short-term. The statutory planning system, through the regulation of physical development and land use, has the most critical role to play in facilitating this transition. The success or otherwise of the forthcoming CDP can only be judged against verifiable and implementable criteria which are subject to ongoing monitoring. We look forward to making further submissions to the CDP in due course. Download the full submission here.