Tuesday, 8 November 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
781. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the implications for a previous submission made by his Department to Wicklow County Council with respect to the Blessington draft development plan in March-April 2003, following a report (details supplied); if he intends to put a preservation order on the area; if so, the extent of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33265/05]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): Submissions by my Department to Wicklow County Council in 2003 on the draft Blessington area plan were made in the context of its role as prescribed body under the Planning and Development Acts in heritage issues. At the time, it was recommended that appropriate buffer zones should be provided to protect the monuments in the vicinity referred to in the question and that archaeological conditions should be attached to any further extractive works in that vicinity.
My Department is also a statutory consultee in individual planning applications which may have an impact on the built or natural heritage. My Department received a copy of the planning application in question from Wicklow County Council and issued a response on 13 December 2004 recommending, inter alia, that permission should not be granted for the development unless the planning authority was satisfied that the archaeological heritage could be protected.
An Bord Pleanála is required to give independent consideration of planning authorities’ decisions on planning applications in cases where such decisions are appealed to the board. In considering an appeal, the board must consider all submissions on the file, together with its own inspector’s report and recommendation, and reach its own conclusion on the matter having regard to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
In the interests of the protection of archaeology and good regulatory practice, it is appropriate that the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004 and the Planning and Development Act 2000 should be operated in a co-ordinated way. Having regard to this consideration and to the circumstances of this case, including the provisions of the County Wicklow development plan 2004-10 and the recent decision by An Bord Pleanála, the question of a preservation order does not arise at this time. However, I have not ruled out the potential use of a preservation order and I will be keeping the position under review.
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