Sam Foster Addresses Planning Backlogs In Additional £3.5 Million Secured For DOE
Published on Wed, 5 Jul 2000
Sam Foster, Minister for the Environment, has secured an extra £3.1 million funding for the DOE in addition to the £400,000 spending on Road Safety he announced earlier this week.
The Minister will allocate over £1 million to address the current backlog in planning applications and to set up a team to initiate preparation of the Belfast Metropolitan Plan. A further £1.2 million will go to DOE's Environment and Heritage Service to enable important environmental monitoring and enforcement.
Mr Foster said: "I am delighted to secure additional funding for the DOE. I am particularly concerned about the considerable strain on resources related to major and complex planning applications and will be pumping over £1 million into this sector. Planning is, after all, central to the properly regulated development of housing and industry. I have therefore made available £850,000 to recruit more staff to deal with planning backlogs.
"I also want to ensure that we get the Metropolitan Plan for the future of Belfast off to an early start. The city is developing rapidly. The DOE's Planning Service has already produced Creating Places, a blueprint for future housing development. To ensure the same strategic approach, I will be spending £250,000 on the formation of a Belfast Metropolitan Team covering the six District Council areas in Greater Belfast."
Mr Foster continued: "At the very core of the DOE's service is care for the Environment. To this end I will be spending £1.2 million to help 'police' the enforcement of new legislation covering waste management, water quality and pollution control."
Mr Foster concluded by highlighting that an additional £200,000 would go to Driver Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVLNI) for computerisation and the opportunity will be taken to reinforce the budget of the Planning Appeals Commission.
Notes to Editors
- The £3.5 million additions are made up partly of DOE elements in the Agenda for Government, but mainly from other budget additions negotiated by Mr Sam Foster since he became DOE Minister on 2 December 1999.
- The Belfast Metropolitan Plan will cover the Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down District Council areas.
- For further information please contact Philip Maguire DOE press Office Tel 028 9054 0013.