Do self-builders have to register as lobbyists when applying for planning permission?

Q: I’m building my own house but I understand I may have to register as a lobbyist when applying for planning permission. Is this true?

A: Simply applying for planning permission, or lodging an objection to one, is not considered lobbying. However, in ROI the lobbying register website states that a communication in support of an application or an objection may be considered lobbying if the application entails modifying an existing policy or plan. For example, if someone seeks to build two houses on a lot where the existing development plan only allows for one – the application itself does not count as lobbying, but communicating in support of it could, since the application seeks a variance from the established plan. For more information, consult the Guidelines on lobbying in relation to zoning and development of land. Still in ROI, if you are contacting a councillor about a zoning application you are considered a lobbyist. Anyone who communicates with a Designated Public Official about the development or zoning of land is lobbying, and must register on the website. In NI too, if you have contacted a councillor for rezoning this must be declared by the councillor who may not vote on any related matter. A summary of DOs and DON’Ts are available here.

— Information gathered from the NI Department of Environment and the ROI Register of Lobbying

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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