Planning Legislation

The physical Planning System in Ireland is run by 88 Planning Authorities:

  • 29 County Councils
  • 5 County Borough Corporations
  • 5 Borough Corporations
  • 49 Town Councils.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is responsible for planning legislation.

Ireland’s planning system was introduced on the 1st of October 1964 when The Local Government (Planning & Development) Act, 1963 came into effect.  Since then, the planning system has seen an expansion of its legislation and has been modernised and revised through a number of changes consolidating into the present Planning & Development Acts 2001-2010 (As Amended). 

Planning Law is made up of both primary and secondary legislation. The primary legislation is that of the Planning & Development Acts which sets out the framework to planning law whereas the secondary planning legislation, the Planning & Development Regulations set out Planning Law in more detail.

Primary Planning Legislation

The Planning & Development Acts 1963 – 1999 were clarified and simplified into one self contained piece of legislation – The Planning & Development Act 2000 and further updated in the current Planning & Development Act 2010. The 2000 Act is the starting point for the modern planning code in the current Irish Planning System. It sets out the detail of the Regional Planning Guidelines, Development Plans and Local Area Plans as well as the Development Management System. Among other things, it provides the statutory basis for protecting our natural and architectural heritage, the carrying out of Environmental Impact Statements and the provision of social and affordable housing.  

Since 2000, there have been a number of changes and updates to planning legislation.  These include:

  • Planning & Development (Amendment) Act 2002.
  • Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004, which made substantial changes to Part V of the Act.
  • Planning & Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006, which provided for, among other things, the establishment of a streamlined consent procedure for certain types of major infrastructure and the creation of a specialized division within An Bord Pleanála to take decisions in relation to such projects. 
  • Planning & Development Act 2010 (As Amended) which provides for Development Plans and Local Area Plans to be more streamlined with National and Regional Development objectives set out in the National Spatial Strategy and Regional Planning Guidelines; modernize land zoning and support targeted investment on infrastructure by the State.  
  • Artical 6(3) of the EU Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC) which compels the undertaking of an Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects.

Secondary Planning Legislation

The Planning & Development Regulations 2001 also consolidate all previous regulations made under the 2000 Act replacing the Local Government (Planning & Development) Regulations 1994-2000. 

The regulations detail the various processes and procedures that make up the planning code set down in the Act. The Planning & Development Regulations 2001 are designed to make the Development Management system more user-friendly for Local Authorities, practitioners and members of the public. 

The Planning & Development Regulations 2001 have also gone through some significant amendments notably;

  • The Planning & Development Regulations 2006 which made significant changes relating to Development Management.
  • The 2007 Regulations provide for exemptions for certain types of micro-renewable energy generating equipment for use in domestic circumstances.
  • The 2008 Regulations provide for exemptions in respect of renewable technologies for industrial buildings, business premises and agricultural holdings.

For more information and to download the relevant planning legislation documents please visit


Last update:18/08/2011