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SHD Scoping and Screening: What is a section 7 request

This page outlines what is a section 7 request in the SHD process

What is a Section 7 request?

A section 7 request relates to the provision by An Bord Pleanála (in relation to SHD) of screening determinations and scoping opinions. Such requests for determinations and / or opinions can be made in relation to environmental impact assessment or appropriate assessment or both.  

Screening for EIA and AA 

An Bord Pleanála, if so requested, is required to determine whether the proposed SHD planning application will need to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR)1 or a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) based on the respective consideration of the SHD’s likely significant effect on the environment (EIA) or likely effects on a European site(s) alone or in combination with other plans or projects in view of the site(s) conservation objectives (AA). 

EIA screening, in particular, under section 7(1)(a)(i)(I) of the Act of 2016, provides for a request to be made in regard to a class of development that does not exceed the relevant quantity, area, or other limit specified in the classes specified in Part 2 of Schedule 5 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended).  Typically for purposes of SHD this might include (dependent on nature / mix of development proposed) sub threshold consideration for one or more of the classes of development set out in section 10 (Infrastructure Projects) of Part 2 including: 

  • Construction of more than 500 dwelling units
  • Cconstruction of a shopping centre with a gross floorspace exceeding 10,000 square metres
  • Urban development which would involve an area greater than 2 hectares in the case of a business district, 10 hectares in the case of other parts of a built up area and 20 hectares elsewhere.

There may however also be other categories / classes of development in Part 2 that could be relevant for purposes of sub threshold screening if incorporated as part of a proposed SHD, and the prospective applicant should satisfy him or herself in respect of other categories.

EIAR, refer to subsection below on the provisions of the amending European Union Directive 2014/52/EU.

Scoping for an EIAR and NIS 

Section 7 of the Act of 2016, requires An Bord Pleanála to provide a written opinion as to the key information required to be contained in an EIAR or a NIS having regard to matters including:

  • The nature and scale of the proposed SHD,
  • Receiving environment, 
  • European site(s) concerned and their conservation objectives,
  • Submissions of statutory bodies and other bodies / persons,
  • Relevant European Directives,
  • Other matters including those prescribed in Regulations (see further guidance below).