Tuesday, 22 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
387. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the status of the €20 charge payable to county councils when making an objection to a planning application; if this charge has been reviewed by the European courts; and if it has been found to be illegal. [6031/05]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): On 23 January 2003, the European Commission issued Ireland with a reasoned opinion to the effect that the €20 fee for the making of a submission on a planning application which requires an environmental impact assessment is contrary to the public participation provisions of Directive 85/337/EEC on environmental impact assessment. A reply issued to the European Commission on 16 May 2003 responding to each of the points raised in the reasoned opinion and setting out our contention that the imposition of a €20 participation fee is not in conflict with the provisions of the directive.
On 22 July 2003, the European Commission issued a press release in which it stated its intention to refer the case to the European Court of Justice. No official communication has been received from the Commission to date. My Department has no plans to amend the relevant regulations which reflect an approach endorsed by the Oireachtas in the context of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
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