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In Ireland, a special regime has been provided for quarries under section 261 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

The section requires that information on a quarry be registered with the relevant local authority. The deadline for registering the information was 28th April 2005.

Section 261 10 (a) provides;

A quarry to which this section applies in respect of which the owner or operator fails to provide information in relation to the operations of the quarry in accordance with subsection (1) or in accordance with a requirement under subsection (3) shall be unauthorised development.”

The operation of a quarry clearly falls within the definition of “development”.

In this Act, “development” means, except where the context otherwise requires, the carrying out of any works on, in, over or under land or the making of any material change in the use of any structures or other land.”

Under Section 32 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 there is an obligation to obtain a planning permission for development.

32.—(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, permission shall be required under this Part—

(a) in respect of any development of land, not being exempted development, and

(b) in the case of development which is unauthorised, for the retention of that unauthorised development.

(2) A person shall not carry out any development in respect of which permission is required by subsection (1), except under and in accordance with a permission granted under this Part.”

Taken with the definition of “unauthorised use”:-

“unauthorised use” means, in relation to land, use commenced on or after 1 October 1964, being a use which is a material change in use of any structure or other land and being development other than—

(a) exempted development (within the meaning of section 4 of the Act of 1963 or section 4 of this Act), or

(b) development which is the subject of a permission granted under Part IV of the Act of 1963 or under section 34 of this Act, being a permission which has not been revoked, and which is carried out in compliance with that permission or any condition to which that permission is subject;”

a quarry requires to have a planning permission or established pre-1964 use AND be “registered” under Section 261 before 28th April 2005.

(Quarries are not “registered” under Section 261; the required information furnished to the local authority is entered on the relevant register.)

There is a canard abroad that “registration” of a quarry has the effect of making it lawful in the way the grant of a planning permission would. This, by definition, is wrong.

Quarries, no less than any other development, are subject to control by application to the High Court under Section 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

Any person may make the application for an injunction under that section.