Increased ambition for climate action must be met with increased investment in planning and courts, says Chambers Ireland

Chambers Ireland welcomes the announcement by Minister Eamon Ryan of a Framework for Offshore Electricity Transmission.

Speaking last week, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“The publication of the Framework is an important step, but it is only one of many that need to be taken if we are to secure the environmental and economic benefits along our path to decarbonisation.

Combining the increased ambitions of our revised Climate Action Plan with review of the National Development Plan, our member chambers are concerned about the administrative capacity of our planning system to deliver these projects when they are needed.

Ireland is in a unique position. We are set to benefit, like no other country, from the opportunities that the revolution in renewable technologies is making possible. If we are to deliver and meet this potential, we need a better resourced planning system that can cope with the demands that are to be placed on it.

To achieve this, we need to scale up the resources and skills in our planning departments at local and national levels, making better planning decision at earlier stages, which can survive scrutiny in the courts.

The decarbonisation of our electrical system will be the largest scale programme of infrastructural activity in the history of our state. This vision is also to be combined with reviving our town centres, making our transport system sustainable, and making good on the gap between housing need and housing availability.

For these goals to be delivered, it is imperative to our competitiveness and economic sustainability that An Bord Pleanála be appropriately resourced to match the scale of our ambitions. Yesterday’s announcement will also put enormous pressure on the National Parks and Wildlife Service, as the Agency with remit over our seas, and so we also need to see appropriate investment to match the important role it must play.

The question of resources in our courts system was a concern even before the pandemic, and this has only been exacerbated over the past year. Government must make urgent progress in investing and reforming our judicial system, including the commitment to introduce an Environmental and Planning Court which can efficiently adjudicate on the merits of the cases before it.

If the government is serious about where we want to bring our country over the next decade, it needs to start investing in our ability to deliver immediately.”

ENDS

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