Planning Portal

Attwood welcomes significant improvements in planning performance

Published on Tue, 15 Jan 2013 by
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today welcomed statistics that show improvements in planning performance for the second successive quarter.
These highlight that compared to the same quarter last year there has been a noticeable improvement in the processing of intermediate and minor planning applications whilst major applications has remained the same. Most notably decisions on renewable energy applications have doubled with 92% of these resulting in approvals.

Alex Attwood said: “Since taking over the environment portfolio I have made it a priority to ensure that planning delivers for the environment and the economy. These statistics highlight that DOE Planning is providing a speedier, more decisive service, fitter for purpose to strengthen our economy without compromising on protecting the environment. I know there is more to achieve and have urged planning to press on.

“The highlights in the last quarter include: minor applications were processed three weeks faster than the same period last year - from 15 weeks to 12 weeks, which exceeds the target of 14 weeks; intermediate applications were turned around two weeks faster - from 20 weeks to 18 weeks, which again surpasses the target of 20 weeks; and the number of decisions issued against renewable energy applications increased from 88 to 177 with 92% of these approved.

“I am pleased that decisions on renewable energy have doubled compared to this quarter last year and that over nine tenths of these applications were approved. This reflects not only that DOE Planning has made renewable energy a priority but also mirrors feedback I have been receiving from the industry. This is all good news for developing our green economy, given that renewables is, arguably Ireland’s greatest economic opportunity.

“I am pleased with noticeable improvement in processing intermediate and minor applications, though there is still room for improvement in the time taken to determine major applications. This figure will show significant improvement in the next quarter as I have been decisive on a number of applications and issued a number of Article 31 major planning decisions. Whether these have been rejections or approvals they have demonstrated a commitment to clear planning applications and bring certainty to all involved.

“Enforcement is one area where I will be pushing for improvement. The underside of good planning is robust enforcement. If applicants stay on the right side of best practice and good law, enforcement does not arise but when it does DOE Planning cannot ignore it. The Planning Bill that I introduced to the Assembly yesterday will help to make enforcement simpler and tougher and allow for faster and fairer planning appeals, so again I expect to see enforcement targets met and indeed exceeded in the future.”

Notes to editors:

1. This is the latest in a series of Quarterly Development Management Statistics Bulletin.

2. There are ten performance targets covered in the report, covering Planning performance in relation to the processing of planning applications and enforcement activity. A number of new targets were introduced for the 2012/13 year.

3. The ‘Planning Service Development Management Statistical Bulletin’ is available at Hard copies are available free of charge from:

Department of the Environment, Analytical Services Branch, Department of the Environment, Room 4-03, Clarence Court, Belfast BT2 8GB,
Telephone: (028) 9054 0223; E-mail: Website:

Further breakdowns of the figures presented in the bulletin are also available on request.

4. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office 028 9025 6052 or for out of office hours, contact the duty press officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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