Purpose of pre-application consultations and where it applies
Pre-application consultations must be requested before an application for permission or approval is made to An Bord Pleanála. These include the following cases where they are compulsory:
- 7th Schedule developments
- State or local authority developments
- electricity transmission lines or interconnectors,
- gas infrastructure developments,
- railway infrastructure developments.
For road developments, it is possible to ask An Bord Pleanála for pre-application consultations before an application is made.
The idea of pre-application consultations is to try to make sure that an application for permission or approval is of a high standard. This can mean that before an application is made that an applicant:
- knows the correct procedures to follow,
- has an opportunity to consider the proper planning and sustainable development,
- has an opportunity to address and consider the effects of the proposed development on the environment and habitats
These are issues that may affect the Board’s consideration of the application in the future. Pre-application consultations also allow An Bord Pleanála to advise an applicant if there are specific issues with the proposal. An Bord Pleanála may also advise the applicant on public consultation. The pre-application consultations are completed when the applicant indicates to An Bord Pleanála that they wish to conclude the consultations. There is no time limit for the consultations to be completed.
If an applicant wishes to apply for a 7th Schedule development or other strategic infrastructure development, An Bord Pleanála will consider if the development would be of strategic economic or social importance, or meets certain other criteria to be considered as a strategic infrastructure development. The Board will then give its opinion that the proposed development would or would not be strategic infrastructure development. The Board will notify the applicant and the local planning authority of its determination.
Keeping the public informed of the pre-application consultations
When An Bord Pleanála receives a request for pre-applications consultations, we will include the request in the weekly list of ‘cases received’ on our website. When the pre-application consultations are completed, we will include them in the weekly list of ‘cases determined’ on our website.
When the pre-application consultation is completed, you can view the case file through our public access service. The case file will contain the records of any meetings between An Bord Pleanála and proposed applicant held during the pre-application consultation process.
What happens after the pre-application consultations have concluded?
Generally prospective applicants can make an application to the Board for permission or approval when the consultations have concluded and the Board has determined if the proposed development is or is not strategic development.
If an applicant is applying for a 7th Schedule development or other strategic infrastructure development, the Board will need to have given its opinion that the proposal is considered to be strategic infrastructure development. With this opinion, the applicant can make their application to An Bord Pleanála.
If the Board gives its opinion that the proposed development does not meet the necessary criteria to be considered as strategic development, the planning application must be made in the normal way to the local planning authority.