Press Release

Careful Consideration of Planning Bill is Needed, Says Committee

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Reference: ENV 10/12/13

The Planning Bill is currently with the Committee for the Environment, and it will publish its consideration and views in a report by June 2013.

Chairperson of the Committee, Anna Lo MLA, said: "The Planning Bill introduces important provisions which seek to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning system. The Bill aims to modernise and strengthen the planning system by providing faster decisions on planning applications, enhanced community involvement, faster and fairer appeals, tougher and simpler enforcement, as well as a strengthened Departmental sustainable development duty.

"The Bill also includes two new clauses which have not previously been set out in law: these clauses reflect the objective of promoting economic development and paying particular regard to the desirability of achieving good design. As these clauses have not been consulted on by the Department of the Environment, the Committee is especially keen to gather evidence on the potential implications of them, and to take special care when examining them. Therefore, I particularly look forward to engaging directly with key stakeholders this week to hear their views on these two new clauses."

Ms Lo concluded: "The event on Thursday presents a unique opportunity to involve the public and key stakeholders in the legislative process. Their input will be invaluable to the Committee as it finalises its consideration of the Bill."


Notes to Editors:

The Planning Bill event will take place on Thursday, 18 April 2013 from 10am-1pm in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings.

Members of the media and public are welcome to attend the event; public seating is limited.

The primary objective of the Planning Bill is to accelerate the implementation of reforms contained within the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, ahead of the transfer of planning powers to local councils. The Bill also brings forward amendments to the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

The Committee's report on the Bill will be finalised by June 2013.

Committee Membership:

Ms Anna Lo MLA (Chairperson)

Mr Simon Hamilton MLA (Deputy Chairperson)

Mr Cathal Boylan MLA

Mr Colum Eastwood MLA

Mr Tom Elliott MLA

Mr Dolores Kelly MLA

Mr Barry McElduff MLA

Mr Ian Milne MLA

Lord Morrow MLA

Mr Alastair Ross MLA

Mr Peter Weir MLA

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