235. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding the working group comprising officials from planning authorities and his Department which was established to review and revise the 2005 planning guidelines on sustainable rural housing; if the review has concluded; if he has engaged with the European Commission on proposed changes to the guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18424/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the 2013 European Court of Justice ruling in the “Flemish Decree” case, a working group, comprising senior representatives from my Department and planning authorities, was established in May 2017 to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, with a view to ensuring that rural housing policies and objectives contained in local authority development plans comply with the relevant provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

This Working Group concluded its deliberations in September 2017 and my Department has been engaging with the Commission on the matter, with a view to issuing a further circular letter to planning authorities as soon as possible, setting out revisions to the 2005 Guidelines to take account of the relevant ECJ judgment.