Advice on when to consult DAERA on an application for planning permission.

Statutory consultations

Planning authorities should refer to the table below when deciding if DAERA should be consulted on an application for planning permission.

Legislation When to consult

The Planning (General Development Procedure) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 as amended (GDPO)

If the development proposal meets one or more of the criteria listed in GDPO 2016 Schedule 3: Part 1; para 2 (a-n)

Application for a variation (amendment of condition)

The Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 Applications accompanied by an Environmental Statement

Non-statutory consultations

As the authority responsible for protecting, regulating and providing advice on the environment, it is appropriate that DAERA is consulted on other non-statutory planning applications which may have impacts on the environment.  Planning authorities may consult on the non-statutory consultations set out below.

Application type When to consult
Pre-application discussion (PADs) Major / regionally significant applications that have potential impacts on the environment.  For local application you should refer to DAERA’s guidance and standing advice

EIA Scoping

We recommend that you refer to DAERA’s guidance and standing advice.  If further clarification is required, the planning authority may initiate a non-statutory consultation
Discharge of conditions Applications where conditions relate directly to environmental interests within DAERA’s areas of responsibility and are accompanied by the decision notice and relevant reports

Proposal of Application Notice (PAN)

It may not be necessary for a planning authority to formally consult DAERA on a proposal of application received by the planning authority.  To ensure that DAERA has been made aware of forthcoming planning applications in which it may have an interest, a copy of the notification should be sent directly to Planning authorities may consult DAERA as part of the formal pre-application discussion process.

Non-material change

For planning applications where a proposal does not include material changes, there is unlikely to be significant environmental impacts.  Consultation may therefore not be necessary.  Planning authorities should refer to DAERA’s guidance and standing advice.

Objection letters/representations

DAERA does not generally wish to be consulted on third party representations made on an application.  The planning authority should refer to our substantive response and published guidance when considering concerns raised by objectors.  The planning authority may raise a non-statutory consultation where clarification of DAERA’s response is required or comments are sought on specific points that have not been addressed in our response.

Please note, in the absence of DAERA comment, no inference can be made on DAERA’s position with regard to environmental impacts.  It is the responsibility of the planning authority to ensure that all risks to the environment and environmental legislation requirements have been considered

Responsibilities under other environmental legislation

The Habitats Regulations

As the competent authority under The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended), planning authorities are required to carry out Habitat Regulations Assessments (HRAs) before a planning decision is made. DAERA, as the Statutory Nature Conservation Body, may hold records/ information not available in the public domain which may assist the planning authority to complete an HRA.  Planning authorities may request this information by emailing

Environmental licences and consents

Certain developments may also require environmental licences / consents to prevent or minimise adverse effects on the environment. Whilst planning and licensing are separate and distinct regimes, DAERA may provide regulatory advice at the planning stage to help identify potential risks to the environment thereby improving decision making, reducing costs and avoiding wasted time and effort.

For further information on environmental consents, applicants and agents should refer to Environmental legislation: DOE Responsibilities under Environmental Legislation.

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