Rural Dwellings & Environmental Heritage Designations

There are a large number of encironmental and heritage designations which can apply in relation to an application for a single rural dwelling.  For example Special Area of Conservation, Natural Heritage Area, Special Protection Area, Statutory Nature Reserves etc.

It is imperative that any such designation is known about before applying for planning permission as this gives the applicant an opportunity to address any issues which might arise in relation to a specific designation.  Just because a proposed dwelling is located in a designated area does not mean that this automatically precludes a successful planning permission.  The Introduction to the Sustaianble Rural Housing Guidelines, 2005 makes this clear:

“The Guidelines make it clear that statutory designation of certain rural areas [i.e. Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and National Heritage Areas (NHAs)] is not intended in any way to operate as an inflexible obstacle as such to housing development. In considering development proposals, including the attachment of planning conditions, in such areas, planning authorities should only consider approving
proposals they are satisfied will not adversely affect the integrity of the designated area” (pg. 2

The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that the proposed development will not affect the integrity of the designated area.  This can only be undertaken if the applicant or his/her agent is fully aware of the designation and what it entails.  You have to take the time to get informed.  Too many applications are simply lodged without any effort made to put a case to the Planning Authority.  A fact based case will be considered by the Planner assessing the application.

Please find a link below to a detailed list of all environmental and heritage designations which exist in Ireland including international designations (source Development Plan Guidelines, 2007, Appendix B, DoEHLG):

Irish and international environmental and heritage designations

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