Question to the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. Alan Kelly, TD)
To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if it is possible for him to direct or instruct local authorities regarding granting planning permission to fast food outlets in close proximity to schools, by regulation; if it would require an amendment to existing legislation or if it would require new legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 28, April, 2015.
Planning authorities may, when adopting the Development Plan for their areas, adopt policies to curtail an excessive concentration of takeaways in particular areas.
Under planning legislation, the change of use of any premises to a takeaway or fast food outlet would require planning permission. In deciding whether or not to grant permission for a development, the relevant planning authority or An Bord Pleanála must consider the proper planning and sustainable development of the area having regard to the provisions of the development plan, any submissions or observations received, and relevant ministerial or Government policies including any guidelines issued by my Department.
My predecessor published Local Area Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities in June 2013. The Guidelines recognise the important role of planning in promoting and facilitating active and healthy living patterns for local communities. For example, the Guidelines suggest that the local area plan can promote active and healthier lifestyles by ensuring that, inter alia, exposure of children to the promotion of foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar is reduced through careful consideration of the appropriateness or location of fast food outlets in the vicinity of schools and parks. I have no current plans to amend the Local Area Plan Guidelines in this regard.