New measures on infrastructure projects due
16 February 2006 08:42
New measures designed to speed up the delivery of large scale construction projects such as roads and incinerators will be announced today by the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche.
It is widely anticipated that the proposed laws will include the establishment of a new division of An Bord PleanÃ¡la, whose officials will have powers to communicate directly with developers.
Contractors are expected to broadly welcome the proposals. However, campaigners against projects such as incinerators are likely to be hostile to measures.
The Strategic Infrastructure Bill will differ considerably from proposals first mooted by former Environment Minister Martin Cullen, who wanted a new planning body to deal with such projects.
However, Minister Roche has been impressed with An Bord PleanÃ¡la's recent speedy decision-making and so will give it the new powers.
It is envisaged infrastructure delivery will be speeded-up by no longer obliging developers to secure planning permission from local authorities before going to An Bord PleanÃ¡la. Its officials will also be able to talk through proposals to identify possible problems.
It is understood that plans to create a special division of the High Court, in order to eliminate lengthy delays on appeals, is still under negotiation by the Minister for Justice. Without that critical component, the ability of the bill to deliver on its aims will be in doubt.
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