Farming & Fisheries

Serial objectors are hitting agri development, says Lombard

September 1st, 2023 7:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Dail Candidate Senator Tim Lombard

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SERIAL objectors are hampering development of agriculture and communities in West Cork, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has declared. Sen Lombard has called for the ongoing review of planning laws to curb the issue.

Sen Lombard said the proposed Planning and Development Bill 2022 must include strict criteria on parties that appeal projects that have been granted by local authorities, as the current system can lead to substantial delays on essential infrastructure being delivered.

Sen Lombard, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on Agriculture, Food, Forestry & Marine, said: ‘People with no association or affiliation with an area are hampering development and livelihoods throughout the country with spurious objections to anything and everything from large infrastructural projects to one-off rural housing and even small-scale agricultural extensions.

‘It makes no sense that, for example, someone living in Dublin would object to planning for an extension to a milking parlour in County Cork, which has occurred.’

Sen Lombard said a balance must be struck between the right to object to planning locally and from ‘serial objectors who have their own agenda’.

He added: ‘Progress is further hampered when these objectors seek a judicial review of a board decision, with both state projects and private commercial developments becoming bogged down in a cumbersome and multi-faceted legal process which also puts significant strain on our courts service.

‘A balance needs to be struck between people’s rights to object to planning that will have an impact on them or their community versus these serial objectors who have their own agenda. The individual or party objecting to the project may be doing so on environmental grounds or where there could be potential for their own financial gain.

‘We need robust legislation from the Housing Minister to ensure the planning authority can view and act on these spurious objections so that unnecessary delays are removed from the process.’

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on housing, local government and heritage has undertaken a significant pre-legislative scrutiny process on the planning and development Bill.

Recommendations the committee made are currently being considered by the Minister and his department, and may feed into the final bill which will then proceed through the Oireachtas.

‘Any legislation must include strict criteria for individuals or parties may lodge an appeal including proof that the project will impact them directly and their geographical location in the country apropos of the proposed project.

‘There should also be controls around the entity or agency who can lodge an appeal and timelines around the process, as we need to remove all obstacles to delivering the supply of homes and agricultural developments that are so badly needed in our growing society and economy.’

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