The functions of the Minister in relation to the compulsory acquisition of land by a local authority under the following enactments were transferred to An Bord Pleanala. Reference in other legislation to the Minister and local enquiry and refers to the Board and to the hearing conducted by the appointed inspector, This includes the Public Health Act, most Local Government Acts, the Housing Act, the Sanitary Services Act, the Roads Act and the Derelict Sites Act
Where a compulsory purchase order is made in respect of acquisition of land by a local authority under any of the above enactments, and objections are received by the Board or local authority, objections which are made or withdrawn or where the Board is of the opinion that any objection relates exclusively to matters dealt with by the property arbitrator, the Board shall inform the local authority, which shall as soon as may be, confirm the order, with or without modification or may refuse to confirm it
The sanitary authority and electricity authority have powers to enter land having given notice under the below-mentioned legislation They need not acquire title to or an interest in the lands concerned. The courts have taken different views of the nature of the acquisition of an easement or easement like rights to install and maintain pipes, wires and associated apparatus through lands, for the purpose of public utilities.
Some courts equate it to the acquisition of land. Other have taken the view that it is an interference with land, rather than an acquisition of land. This determines the manner in which compensation is assessed. The damage for which compensation is given may be both permanent and temporary.
Various legislation gives powers to acquire wayleaves or quasi-easement for water and sewage, electricity or gas. The Public Health Ireland Act empowered sanitary authorities to run water pipes and sewers through any road, street or place, after giving reasonable notice in writing to the owner or occupier of the lands concerned. All existing and future sewers and water pipes automatically vested in the sanitary authority under the legislation.
Where a person sustains damage by the exercise of statutory powers, he is entitled to be paid by the sanitary authority which exercises the power. A dispute as to the amount of damages is to be settled by arbitration in the manner provided by the Public Health Acts. There is no provision for payment of interest.
The order operates to vest in the authority, the land or rights to land concerned. The order may incorporate the provisions of the Land Clauses Act. It may authorise entry into land for the purpose of carrying out the work.
The authority is obliged to pay compensation in respect of land or rights over land, obtained by the acquisition order and any diminishing in value of rights or interest in land by reason of the exercise of the power and other laws caused by the exercise. Interest is payable on the award. However, if an offer of compensation is made and the arbitrator’s award does not exceed that offer, no interest is payable.
The local authority has powers to acquire dangerous structures and places compulsorily. This power applies to a place that is no longer dangerous because the authority has undertaken works. There is no provision for notice to treat as such. A person with an interest in the place acquired may claim compensation within 12 months of the making of the order.
The compensation is equal to the value of the estate or interests acquired and is set by agreement or by arbitration under the 1919 Act. The value of the interest acquired is open market value. No compensation is available for severance, injurious affection or by circumstances particular to the applicant. In determining compensation, the amount of expenditure incurred by the authority in undertaking the work is deducted. There is no provision for interest on compensation.
Local authorities have wide powers to acquire derelict sites and lands compulsorily. A person who has an interest in the lands concerned may submit a compensation claim within 12 months after the order is made. Some due to the local authority, for expenses incurred in relation to the site and for the Derelict Sites levy are deducted. Interest is payable from vesting until the payment. Compensation is payable on the open market value and not on injurious effects or personal considerations.
Where a scheme under the Roads Act is approved, the road authority is authorised compulsorily to acquire land and interests in land as authorised by the scheme. It may close lands from the public road and divert access to them. A claim for compensations must be made not later than six months after the date on which the scheme is approved by an Bord Pleanala. In default of agreement, compensation is determined by arbitration under the 1919 Act.
Before 1990, there were significant rights of compensation if the value of land was reduced by reason a refusal to grant planning permission. The 1990 Act, (which is re-enacted in the 2000 Act) removes the right to compensation where planning permission is refused on a range of grounds. The grounds encompass most reasons why planning permission is refused. In practice, refusals are based on one are more such grounds, so that a right to compensation rarely arises.
Where a right of compensation arises under the Planning Act the claimant must submit an application for compensation and the 1919 Act applies. In certain limited cases, a person may require the planning authority to purchase the lands where planning is refused.
When a purchase notice is accepted by the authority in lieu of granting planning permission, it is deemed to have served a notice to treat and a duty to acquire arises. Compensation is payable on the standard basis under the Housing Act. The compensation is the value of land, exclusive of allowances for disturbance or severance.
The Water Supplies Act empowers local authorities (now Irish Water) to acquire water from any source, for the purpose of public supply. The authority has the power to enter land and take the water source. Compensation must be paid within one year or in some cases, two years after proposal becoming operative. It is calculated under the 1919 Act. Persons who suffer damage or loss by reason of the taking of the supply of water are entitled to compensation. Compensation is also granted for damage caused by the entry onto land.
The Public Health Act provides that the local authority burial board for its district. It may purchase or acquire lands for use as burial grounds and crematoria by agreement or compulsorily.
Local authorities have powers to acquire lands for the purpose of courthouses, public libraries and a variety of local government purposes, including development. The consent of the Minister is usually required.
The 2000 legislation amended some of the time limits under various legislation in respect of objections. They include the following,
- Water Supplies Act; six weeks
- Sanitary Services Act, six weeks
- Housing Act (S. 216) six weeks
- Roads Act; six weeks
- Housing Act (s.78); twelve weeks
Where a compulsory purchase order or provisional order is confirmed by the local authority or the Board and becomes operative, the local authority may proceed to acquire the land. A decision of the Board to confirm the order shall become operative three weeks from the date in which notice is first published. It must serve the notice to treat within 18 months.
Where under any legislation, the board is required to hold a local enquiry or public local enquiry, the Board is obliged to hold an oral hearing. An oral hearing in relation to compulsory acquisition may be heard in parallel with a hearing in relation to proposed development by a local authority (which must comply with the statutory consultation procedures under the Planning and Development Act).
Similarly, where the application for approval is made to the Board in relation to confirmation of an Environmental Impact Assessment, and there is a compulsory acquisition procedure in relation to the same development, the two may be heard in parallel by the Board.