New Draft Development Contribution Guidelines Focus on Jobs, Investment and Sustainable Growth

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D., and the Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan, T.D., today (27 June) published draft guidelines for planning authorities on development contributions. The publication marks the start of an 11 week public consultation phase during which all stakeholders and members of the public are invited to submit their views on the draft. Following consideration of the submissions received final guidelines will be issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000 – 2010.


Speaking at the publication of draft guidelines Minister Hogan said that “Local authorities are making a significant contribution to Ireland’s economic recovery, by helping to improve the environment in which businesses thrive through their planning and economic development functions. Development contributions are a central instrument in the funding of essential physical and social infrastructure, in supporting the implementation of local authority development plans, improving the quality and competitiveness of each local authority area, and in  influencing investment decisions.”


The statutory framework for development contribution schemes has been in place since 2000. Since then they have assisted in the delivery of much needed investment in essential infrastructure along with central exchequer and local authority own resources. However, there is a recognition that previous suites of schemes were prepared in a very different time. The economic landscape has been significantly altered.


Minister O’Sullivan said, “A key aim for future development contribution schemes must be to promote sustainable development, secure investment in capital infrastructure and encourage jobs and growth.  I am confident that the new guidance – which is both pro-planning and pro-jobs – will enable local authorities to achieve the right balance into the future between generating the revenues required to provide the necessary infrastructure associated with new development and creating the right conditions to support sustainable development patterns, economic activity and renewal”.

Key features in the new guidance include:

▪         A requirement for planning authorities to put in place reduced rates of development contributions or waivers for

Ø  development in town centres to support town centre development;

Ø  change-of-use permissions, where change-of use does not lead to the need for new or upgraded infrastructure / services;

Ø  businesses grant-aided or supported by IDA/Enterprise Ireland or other local authority or state supported local development agencies, as well as reduced rates for developments that would progress the Government’s Jobs Initiative;

Ø  broadband provision and sustainable energy infrastructure

Ø  protected structures

▪         Recommended use of lower rates in areas prioritised for development in the core strategy

▪         A flexible approach to phasing of payment of development contributions (subject to formal agreement between developer and planning authority).

▪         A consistent step-by-step methodology for use by all planning authorities in the preparation of new schemes to ensure consistency of approach.


“These draft guidelines are focused on good planning, promoting jobs and securing investment.  I encourage everyone with an interest in local and regional development to make their views known as final guidelines will be published in the early autumn,” concluded Minister O’Sullivan.

The public consultation period runs until Friday 7 September. The draft guidelines are available at




Types of development contribution scheme

Development contributions provide the only statutory mechanism for capturing planning gain as part of the development management process. There are three types of development contribution scheme, namely:


General Development Contribution Schemes

Under section 48 of the Planning and Development Acts, planning authorities must draw up a development contribution scheme in respect of certain public infrastructure and facilities provided by, or on behalf of, the local authority that generally benefit development in the area. All planning permissions granted are subject to the conditions of the development contribution scheme in operation in the area of the planning authority.


Special Development Contributions

A special development contribution may be imposed under section 48(2)(c) where specific exceptional costs, which are not covered by the general contribution scheme, are incurred by a local authority in the provision of public infrastructure or facilities which benefit very specific requirements for the proposed development, such as a new road junction or the relocation of piped services. The particular works should be specified in the condition.  Only developments that will benefit from the public infrastructure or facility in question should be liable to pay the development contribution.


Supplementary Development Contribution Scheme

Section 49 of the Act provides for the drawing up of a supplementary development contribution scheme to facilitate a particular public infrastructure service or project which is provided by a local authority or a private developer on behalf of and pursuant to an agreement with a local authority (e.g. through Public Private Partnership), and which will directly benefit the development on which the development contribution is imposed. A good example of such schemes include those prepared to support the delivery of public transport projects like the LUAS network and Cork-Midleton rail line.


Use of development contribution funds

The following chart illustrates how development contributions were used in 2007 / 2008.



Supplementary schemes, (Section 49) have been used primarily for the funding of specific transport infrastructural projects under the Transport 21 investment programme. Levies from the supplementary schemes were estimated to have had contributed nearly €44m of the capital costs of the provision of major infrastructure projects under Transport 21 in 2009.


Comments are closed.