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DCAN 12: Planning Control for Hazardous Substances
Land use planning requirements of the COMAH Directive

The Directive also requires land-use planning controls to apply to all establishments - whether top-tier or lower-tier - within the scope of the Directive. Article 12 of the Directive refers specifically to land-use planning -
“1. Member States shall ensure that the objectives of preventing major accidents and limiting the consequences of such accidents are taken into account in their land-use planning and/or other relevant policies. They shall pursue these objectives through controls on:
  • the siting of new establishments;
  • modifications to existing establishments covered by Article 10;
  • new developments such as transport links, locations frequented by the public and residential areas inthe vicinity of existing establishments, where the siting or development is such as to increase the risk or consequences of a major accident.
Member States shall ensure that their land-use and/or other relevant policies and the procedures for implementing those policies take account of the need, in the long term to maintain appropriate distances between establishments covered by this Directive and residential areas, areas of public use and areas of particular natural sensitivity or interest, and, in the case of existing establishments, of the need for additional technical measures in accordance with Article 5 so as not to increase the risks to people.
2. Member States shall ensure that all competent authorities and planning authorities responsible for decisions in this area set up appropriate consultation procedures to facilitate implementation of the policies established under paragraph 1. The procedures shall be designed to ensure that technical advice is on the risks arising from the establishment available, either on a case-by-case or on a generic basis, when decisions are taken.”
8.There were similarities between the extant procedures required by the hazardous consent procedures and the land-use planning requirements of the Directive. Therefore amendments to the hazardous substances provisions of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 and the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations (Northern Ireland)1993 have been made to give effect to the land-use planning requirements of the COMAH Directive. Minor amendments have also been made to the Planning (General Development) Order (Northern Ireland)1993 1 and the Planning (Development Plans) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 2 . These amendments are promulgated in The Planning (Control of Major-Accident Hazards) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000.
9. This Development Control Advice Note replaces DCAN 12 issued in 1993 and gives guidance on how the consent procedure operates following changes introduced to implement the planning requirements of the COMAH Directive. The advice given is intended to be a guide. It is not definitive; an authoritative statement of the law can only be made by the Courts.
1 S.R. 1993 No. 278
2 S.R. 1991 No. 119 as amended by S.R. 1994 No. 394
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