Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy CO 1: The Undeveloped Coast

Policy CO 1 The Undeveloped Coast   
This policy is superseded by PPS 16 Tourism (insofar as it relates to tourism development or the protection of tourism assets from inappropriate development).
To conserve the natural character and landscape of the undeveloped coast.
It has long been recognised that the Northern Ireland coastline with its diversity of landscapes and habitats, some of outstanding quality, is a very important but non-renewable resource. Already much of the coast has been designated within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Areas of Special Scientific Interest, Nature Reserves or falls within existing rural policy areas. The effect of development on both wildlife and the beauty of the landscape can be serious and widespread. There are few types of development which require a coastal location and the undeveloped coast will rarely be an appropriate location for new development.
The undeveloped coastal zone will therefore be designated as a Countryside Policy Area in relevant development plans. It shall be taken to include those areas directly related to the coastline and including river estuaries. The shoreline of Strangford Lough is included within the definition of the coast. Certain stretches of shoreline of inland lakes and loughs may also be designated as a Countryside Policy Area. Such designations will be set out in the relevant area plan and will be based on the Countryside Assessment for the particular area.
Within the coastal Countryside Policy Area the Department will apply the policies as set out in the Green Belt and Countryside Policy Areas section. However, greater emphasis will be placed on the visual impact of proposals on the coastal zone. In general development will only be permitted where there is a clear site specific need.
Certain parts of the coast are, for a variety of reasons, of such unique quality that it would be in the public interest to restrict all development. This policy will only be applied in exceptional circumstances and such areas will be identified in development plans.
Particular attention will be paid to the maintenance of public views to the coast.
Certain developments require a coastal location - examples include ports and marinas, industries which require a location near a port, certain tourist and recreational projects and the energy generation industry. In dealing with proposals for this type of development the Department will carefully assess the need for such a proposal, its effect on the local or regional economy and potential impacts on the environment - see Policy PSU 2. Such developments, where necessary, will normally be located within existing urban areas or within areas zoned for such use within the relevant area plan. Exceptionally, development may be permitted on the undeveloped coast in the following circumstances:
  • where the proposed development is of such national or regional importance as to outweigh any potential detrimental impact to the coastal environment; and
  • where no feasible alternative site within an existing urban area exists.
Applications for major developments on the coast may be required to be accompanied by an environmental statement.
Regard will be paid to the visual and physical impact of coastal protection schemes, particularly on the undeveloped coastline.
Where development is approved within the undeveloped coastal zone, conditions may be imposed to minimise any adverse impact on the environment. In particular conditions will be used to:
  • minimise the visual impact of development by the careful siting, design and landscaping of the proposal;
  • ensure the design of the development is of a high standard and of traditional style and materials; and
  • keep important public views of the coast free from development.
Development will not normally be permitted in areas known to be at serious risk from flooding, coastal erosion or land instability. New development will generally not be acceptable where it would require the provision of expensive engineering works to protect the development from erosion or coastal flooding - see Policy PSU 10.
Where it is considered necessary the location of major risk areas may be indicated in the relevant area plan.
Previous Next
Get Adobe Reader software (link opens in a new browser window)