In a submission [1] to the newly formed Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) on its Draft Strategic Plan 2019-2024, An Taisce called for the organisation to set strong planning targets if Ireland is to achieve the objectives laid out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

An Taisce praised the operational objectives that the OPR detailed in their Draft Plan but also called for the organisation to develop timetabled and quantified plans for improving planning performance in Ireland over the next five years, particularly with regard to the following:

  • Achieving measurable greenhouse gas mitigation and reversing ecosystem loss in this time of global climate change and biodiversity loss emergency; 

  • Achieving particular targets in curtailing car based urban sprawl, stimulating a modal shift to sustainable transport, and enhancing urban wellbeing and amenity;

  • Applying the range of UN Conventions, EU Directives, and Council of Europe Conventions on climate, biodiversity, waste, water, cultural heritage and landscape on all levels including individual planning applications, forward planning documents, and broader planning policies;

  • Enhancing enforcement and development compliance, in particular with regard to land clearance, quarrying, and protected structure endangerment where enforcement is currently poor.

Phoebe Duvall, An Taisce’s Planning and Environmental Policy Officer, said: “The legal remit of the OPR gives it a wide ranging responsibility and entitlement which needs to be exercised to the maximum extent in effective, targeted and timetabled measures for the sustainable development challenges we face.”

Ian Lumley, An Taisce’s Advocacy Officer, said: “Unless adequate quantitative annual targets on greenhouse gas mitigation; reversal of biodiversity loss; and sustainable land use, production and consumption are adopted in the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan for the start up of the OPR, then the OPR will fail in its legal remit as a regulator with multi-generational cost and damage thereby caused.”


[1]: Full submission available here.


Phoebe Duvall, Planning and Environmental Policy Officer, An Taisce

email: [email protected]

Phone: 01 454 1786

Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer

Phone (mobile): 083 153 2384

email: [email protected]