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SID: Types of Strategic Infrastructure Development

This page explains the different types of strategic infrastructure development.

What are the types of strategic infrastructure development?

There are several types of strategic infrastructure development and these can be carried out by private groups, local authorities or by State authorities.

Certain large scale private developments are listed in the 7th Schedule of the Planning and Development Acts. These are developments which normally require environmental impact assessment (EIA) and which the Board certifies as meeting certain criteria after a pre-application consultation process.

The 7th schedule divides developments into different categories and types of development which are classed as being strategic infrastructure developments. The table below gives some examples.

Energy Infrastructure

Examples include:

  • a thermal power station,
  • a crude oil refinery,
  • an oil pipeline,
  • natural gas storage,
  • a hydro-electric installation, and
  • wind farm with more than 25 wind turbines or which has a total output of more than 50 megawatts.

Transport Infrastructure

Examples include:

  • a passenger or goods facility,
  • a building for a railway or tramway, and
  • a harbour or port installation.

Environmental Infrastructure

Examples include:

  • A waste disposal installation for incineration, chemical treatment, or landfill.
  • Waste Water Treatment Plants for more than 10,000 people,
  • Transfer of water between river basins,
  • A dam,
  • Overground aqueducts,
  • Canalisation or flood relief works, and
  • Coastal works to combat erosion or maritime works capable of altering the coast.

Health Infrastructure

Examples include:
  • A health care facility

To be classed as strategic infrastructure a proposed development needs to meet certain criteria. For example: a proposed wind farm of 20 wind turbines with a total output of 45 megawatts would not be classed as a strategic infrastructure development as it would not meet the criteria listed in the 7th Schedule of the Planning and Development Acts. The application would be made to the local planning authority for that area. The local planning authority’s decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

A wind farm of 30 wind turbines with a total output of 60 megawatts would be classed as strategic infrastructure development as it would meet the criteria listed in the 7th Schedule of the Planning and Development Acts. The application would be made to An Bord Pleanála. There are no appeals allowed on the Board’s decision.

As well as 7th Schedule developments, strategic infrastructure development includes:

  • proposed development by local authorities in their own area which requires Environmental Impact Assessment,
  • certain developments by the State which require Environmental Impact Assessment,
  • major gas pipelines and their associated terminals, buildings and installations,
  • high voltage (110kv or more) electricity transmission lines and interconnectors,
  • motorways and other major roads,
  • development by or on behalf of a local authority on the foreshore,
  • railway works including light rail and metro systems and certain associated commercial development on adjacent land, and
  • compulsory acquisition of land associated with certain of the above developments.

Full details on the criteria for developments to be classed as strategic infrastructure can be found in the relevant Acts of the Oireachtas. For example: for 7th Schedule Developments the criteria are listed in the Planning and Development Acts. 


You can find out An Bord Pleanála's functions under strategic infrastructure development under the relevant legislation: