How to decide if you are lobbying
There are questions that you need to ask/answer before deciding if you are engaged in lobbying within the meaning of the legislation:
Are you communicating with a Designated Public Official about zoning or development?
The communication may be direct or indirect. If you ask someone else to communicate on your behalf, that is indirect communication and is still regarded as a communication made by you for the purposes of the Act.
Is it a relevant matter?
Does it involve the initiation, development or modification of any public policy or public programme in relation to zoning or development or is it the implementation of any such policy or programme? If it is implementation only, you are not lobbying.
Exactly what are you communicating about?
Examples of communications in relation to zoning and development which are likely to be regarded as lobbying
In the case of zoning and development, the following are examples of communications regarding relevant matters which would be regarded as lobbying:
- A communication to a Designated Public Official about a development plan or local area plan or the zoning or rezoning of land which is outside of a formal consultation process is lobbying.
- A communication to a Designated Public Official about a planning application for a residential development on land that is already zoned residential may be lobbying if the planning application involves a modification of policy, for example, if the application involves a housing density greater than that outlined in the development plan or local area plan.
- A communication with a Designated Public Official about a planning application which is outside of the formal planning process may be regarded as lobbying if the planning application seeks or requires a change in the local authority’s development policy.
- Communicating with Designated Public Officials about development of major infrastructural projects may constitute lobbying.
- A communication to a Designated Public Official in relation to a planning application for the development of a wind farm or the building of pylons on land that is zoned agricultural or amenity (either promoting or opposing same) is lobbying as it involves a modification of a policy.
Examples of communications in relation to zoning and development which are not likely to be regarded as lobbying
- A communication about your principal private residence is not lobbying.
- An application for planning permission is not lobbying.
- Seeking declarations/referrals under the Planning Acts on development and exempted development is not lobbying.
- Lodging a submission to an application for a planning permission with a local authority is not lobbying.
- Communications with a Designated Public Official about a planning application that adheres to the local authority's established development policy/development plan would be considered an implementation matter, and therefore exempt from the requirement to register and submit a return.
- A communication to a local authority or a Designated Public Official about enforcement of a planning condition is not lobbying as it involves implementation.
- Making a submission to the local authority setting out your views on a proposed development plan or local area plan as part of a public consultation process is not lobbying.
- Requesting information about the planning, development or zoning process is not lobbying.