Dublin's new directly-elected mayor will have power over planning throughout the region, according to details of legislation published today.

Environment Minister John Gormley said that the new mayor will make local government services more efficient for the capital's 1.2m people.

The new mayor would chair a slimmed-down Dublin Regional Authority.

The four existing councils would be legally obliged to follow its policy in the areas of planning, housing, waste and water.

However, details on how the mayor would oversee traffic and transport are still being finalised.

The mayor would have a staff of 30 with the office costing €5m a year, but Minister Gormley has said this cost will be met within existing resources - made up for by greater efficiency in the operation of the four local councils.

However, the office of Dublin's lord mayor will continue with its home in the Mansion House.

It is probable that the election will not happen until the autumn.