Section 261 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 made special provision for the control of quarries. A quarry is as defined in the Mines and Quarries Act 1965.
On the coming into force of Section 261 (on 28th April 2004) a quarry to which Section 261 applied (most quarries), had to be registered with the local planning authority within one year of 28th April 2004. Failure to register rendered the quarry an unauthorised development. âRegistrationâ? refers to the supply of the required information, not the entry on the register. (S. 261 (10) (a)).
The section set out the information which had to be supplied on registration, with provision for the planning authority to make further enquiries. Failure to provide the further requested information also will render the quarry an unauthorised development.
Under S. 261 (12) provision was made as follows:
(12) The Minister may issue guidelines to planning authorities regarding the performance of their functions under this section and a planning authority shall have regard to any such guidelines.â?
The Minister has issued guidelines to the planning authorities on quarries. The guidelines emphasise that âregistrationâ? does not authorise an unauthorised development.
Under S. 261 (7) provision was made, in respect of quarries the âextracted areaâ? of which was greater than 5 hectares; or was on a European site or other protected site; and that commenced operation before 1st October 1964; and would be likely to have significant effects on the environment, for the planning authority to require, within one year of registration, that the owner apply for a planning permission and to submit an environmental impact statement.
The effect of Section 261 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 is to establish a baseline for the operations of registered quarries. (Assuming the information furnished with the âregistrationâ? is accurate). The public may compare the current operation of any quarry with the details in the register (which details relate to a period in 2004) and they or the planning authority may take action if the comparison shows intensification of use.