Northern Ireland Planning Service

Attwood announces fresh look at how planning policy in rural areas is working

Published on Mon, 27 Jun 2011 by comms@doeni.gov.uk.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today announced that he is taking a fresh look at how Planning Policy Statement 21 (PPS21) is actually working in practice.
The policy was introduced in 2010 to manage sustainable development in the countryside.
Alex Attwood has revealed that many MLAs are arguing that it is being interpreted differently in different locations in Northern Ireland. The Minister is taking a fresh look to ensure that the policy is being applied consistently throughout the North. He is also gathering figures to see if there are any problem hotspots.
Following a meeting with MLAs at Stormont today Alex Attwood said: "For many years in Northern Ireland planning applications in rural areas were simply being put on hold until the policy was established. MLAs, including a dozen I met with in Stormont today, are telling me that the policy is welcome but not being implemented fairly in all cases. There is a perception that some people are not getting the same opportunity to build in rural areas compared with other parts of Northern Ireland. It would be wrong if that was the case, especially given how serious and sensitive this issue is. I therefore want to test that experience and perception. That is why I am announcing this review of how PPS21 actually works in practice. I am also gathering figures to see if there are disparities between different areas in Northern Ireland. If there are then I will take the necessary steps to ensure everyone is treated consistently."
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