A cornerstone of the Advocacy Unit's work is our role as the only independent charity in Ireland with a statutory or “prescribed” role in the planning process. This means we are sent planning applications for proposed developments of all types and of all sizes that may impact the environment and/or built heritage. Our role is to review and comment on the applications as part of the decision making process. Essentially, we act as a watchdog. We also have a similar role regarding infrastructure developments (such as large electricity projects), forestry licensing, aquaculture licensing, pollution control licensing, and dumping at sea permits. 

The detailed submissions we make often result in changes to the proposals to better promote sustainable development and ecological protection. Our work can also result in particularly problematic proposals being refused. Learn more about these statutory roles here.

More broadly, the Advocacy Unit's focus in this oversight role is to advocate for the full implementation, enforcement and improvement of national and European environmental law and policy. We also advocate for the right to full public participation in all environmental decision and policy-making processes.