Category Archives: Motions 2018


“That planning legislation would be amended to require all members of An Bord Pleanála appointed by the Minister to be qualified in a planning or planning-related field and to have demonstrated long-standing experience and interest in the planning system.  This is to ensure that the Board can uphold its core function, i.e. to provide, in the interests of the common good, for proper planning and sustainable development”

An Bord Pleanála, the highest planning authority in the land, is responsible for the determination of appeals and other matters under the Planning & Development Act 2000.  This Act has one main purpose: to provide for proper planning and sustainable development in the interest of the common good.

One would imagine, therefore, that members of the Board would have a long-demonstrated expertise in planning, both by qualification and practice.  In fact though, this is not always the case.

The Board is made up of a chairperson appointed by the government and 9 ordinary Board members appointed by the Minister for the Environment.  Those 9 are selected from nominations from organisations prescribed in secondary legislation.  This appointments process is intended for the Board to represent a range of societal perspectives.   But the legislation is written in such a way that none of the Board members have to be planners.  Two members are to be chosen from prescribed organisations representative of professions in the fields of planning, engineering or architecture.  That is as close as it gets.  There are no qualifications as such for membership of the Board.  The prescribed bodies are given no statutory guidance regarding how to go about selecting their nominees.  In essence, the procedure for appointment of ordinary Board members is somewhat akin to the procedure for appointment of directors of state-sponsored bodies generally, in that the Minister is empowered to use his discretion as to whom he appoints.

The chairperson is not required to be a planner either.  A person nominated as chair must have “special knowledge and experience and other qualifications or personal qualities” which the appointing committee considers appropriate to enable them to effectively perform as the chair.  But the legislation doesn’t mention planning.

When the P&D Act was passed, we had a Board comprising a chair and 9 members all of whom had qualifications and experience in planning or architecture.  At present, we have a Board of whom 3 ordinary members is a planner and 1 is an architect.  That is 4 out of 10.  That is not to say that all members are not experts in their fields but it seems to me imperative that for the highest planning authority in the land, at least a majority would have an expertise in planning.

When the Board is deciding on a planning appeal, the quorum for a meeting is 2.  So it is entirely feasible that a decision is taken by two people who, although undoubtedly highly qualified in their own fields, are not planners.  Planning applications made under the Strategic Infrastructure Act go directly to the Board.  The Strategic Infrastructure Division of the Board comprises the Chair of the Board, the deputy Chair and 3 ordinary members.  A quorum for a meeting of the Strategic Infrastructure Division is 3.  So it is entirely feasible that for these generally big projects which can often have a long-term, significant impact on the neighbourhoods for which they are proposed, a decision on determining whether they are proper planning and sustainable development, can be taken in the absence of a planner.

Of course all Board decisions are informed by a planning inspector who will have examined the planning proposal in detail but the Board is at liberty to overturn the recommendation of that planning inspector.  The most recent high profile overturning of an Senior Planning Inspector’s recommendation by the Board was in the granting of planning permission to the proposed incinerator at Ringaskiddy.  In this case, the decision was taken was taken by 7 members of the Board, only 2 of whom are planners or architects.  The other two planners on the Board were excluded from taking part in any meetings pertaining to the application or to the final decision-making.

The Board is required to implement government policy but each proposal must be evaluated and considered in the context of proper planning and sustainable development.  To do that, it is critical that Board members would have qualifications and experience in planning or at the very least, be capable of demonstrating long-standing experience and interest in the planning field.  This request has been made previously by the Royal Town Planning Institute of Ireland, I echo it now and I ask that all Members would support me in that.


That Cork County Council would initiate a paint reuse scheme in each of its 11 Civic Amenity Sites.  The aim of the scheme would be to offer good quality reusable paint to community groups, charities and others while reducing the volume and cost of waste for disposal.



We don’t know precisely how much paint goes to waste in Ireland each year. 


What we do know is that research in the UK has found that the average household has 17 part used paint tins stored in cupboards, garden sheds and garages. 


We know that one litre of improperly disposed paint has the ability to pollute up to 250,000 litres of water.


And we also know that although many paints are now water-based, all paints are regarded as hazardous and sent for treatment by the same process.  This is the case even though most paints collected at civic amenity sites are not hazardous at all.


The most recent published statistics from the EPA tell us that in 2014, 9.5 million litres of paints, varnish, ink and adhesive were treated as hazardous waste.  (They don’t tell us how much of this is paint only.)  Half of this 9.5 million litres was treated at home, half was exported.


In 2016, 43,000 litres of paint was presented at civic amenity sites around the country.  Only engine oils and pesticides were presented in greater volumes.  Management of paint is a burden to local authorities.  Management of any waste defined as hazardous is costly and there are specific guidelines for its storage and  handling.


In general, 50% of waste paint that is stored or thrown away is still usable.  To minimise the environmental burden, the financial burden and to prevent waste, many countries have initiated paint reuse schemes or community paint recycling programmes.  These include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Rediscover Paint project in Ballymun.  One of the most extensive paint reuse schemes is closest to us in the UK, where a nationwide paint reuse network called Community RePaint collects leftover paint at civic amenity sites and other participating hardware stores and redistributes it to benefit individuals, families, communities and charities in need at an affordable cost.  Community Repaint began with two schemes in 1993.  15 years later, Dulux came on board as a sponsor.  And in 2014, 22 years after the initiative started, the scheme’s first remanufacturing centre opened, blending and rebranding paint that was once regarded as waste to be sent for incineration.  Community RePaint has a network made up of over 74 schemes.  It redistributes over 300,000 litres of paint each year with the help of 154 employees, 14 trainees and 146 volunteers.


We in County Cork collect waste paint at all of our civic amenity sites.  At present, even though most of it is not hazardous, it is all regarded as hazardous and most is sent for incineration.  We cannot aspire to a scheme as extensive as Community RePaint in the immediate future but what we can do is to formalise a paint reuse scheme at each of our civic amenity sites.  I can think of nothing that stands in the way of our initiating this.  Segregate hazardous from non-hazardous paint.  Ensure each tin to be redistributed is clean with a reasonably well sealed lid.  Repackage if it is not.  Make it available to schools, charities and community groups.  Even to the public if they would like it.  Whether there is a small fee or not, all paint that is reused minimises that which is wasted.  This in itself saves money.  Reuse schemes like this are supported by the Southern Waste Management Region Office and are a stated aim of the National Waste Prevention Committee.  This is a very small, very simple initiative but is a huge statement of intent that could in time grow into a sustainable industry.