MEP Kelleher calls for amendments to Strategic Infrastructure Act to speed up Waste Water Treatment plant planning applications

Published on: 02 May 2024

- Airports must also be brought under ambit of 2006 Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act -

Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher has said that he believes that legislative changes to the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 are needed to further expedite the planning process for essential projects in this country.

“Yesterday, I was struck by the confirmation from the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority that airports do not fall under the remit of the Act. This to me makes little to no sense in the current era.

“Airports like Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Waterford should be prioritised and fast tracked when they make planning applications. Dublin Airport’s cap should be increased, and we should be planning investments and upgrades to our regional airports to reflect Ireland’s growing population and connectivity requirements.

“Upon looking into the act, I also discovered that waste water treatment (WWT) plants for communities with less than 10,000 people are also not included in the SID process.

“Again, this makes no sense. As I travel around Ireland South for the European Parliament campaign, local communities constantly ask me about why no discernible progress is being made on their WWT plant.

“In many cases, it’s because the community in question has less than 10,000 people living in it, and as such planning permission must be sought from the Local Authority.

“Sadly, we all know that even when a local authority does give permission for this type of project, an appeal will inevitably be lodged to An Bord Pleanála adding significant delays to the entire process.

“To my mind, we should skip the first step and go straight to An Bord Pleanála for these important projects.

“If providing waste water treatment services to communities isn’t a strategic necessity, then what is?” asked the Fianna Fáil MEP.

“Without adequate waste water treatment facilities, local authorities are by and large blocked from approving new housing developments. It holds up the development of our smaller towns and villages; places we should be seeking to expand and make more economically sustainable.

“These two issues are why I believe the 2006 Act needs to be reviewed and amended. We live in a very different world to 2006; it’s time the legislation underpinning our planning system caught up with the demands of 2024,” concluded Kelleher.