Planning Portal

Attwood welcomes performance across all planning categories – radical reform is working

Published on Thu, 4 Jul 2013 by
Environment Minister, Alex Attwood has welcomed improvements in performance across all of the main categories of planning application over the last year.
A statistical report published today reported that, over the last year:

- the average processing times for Major, Intermediate and Minor categories of planning application has reduced by four, two and three weeks respectively
- 72% of all Large Scale Investment Applications were processed within six months, exceeding targets
- renewable energy applications decisions increased by 90%. Almost nine in 10 renewable energy applications were approved
- enforcement cases opened have increased by 8%, with cases closed increasing by 14%.

Alex Attwood said: “Over the last two years there has been a big effort made to improve planning after I set challenging targets in order to speed up the planning process. I welcome the statistics that proves that improvements have been made. Despite the claims of a few, planning has turned corners. There are yet more.

“There have been some obvious examples of quick turnaround times of major decisions, for example Windsor Park, Narrow Water Bridge, University of Ulster at York Street and the Joint Public Services College.

“It is encouraging to note that there has been an increase of 90% in renewable energy application decisions. This is good news for developing our green economy, which is one of my key objectives. Renewable electricity and technology is one of our biggest economic opportunities.

“These figures confirm that the most radical reform of planning in a generation is working. Article 31 / Ministerial decisions made more quickly. Surge in wind turbine decisions. Timelines improving. Extension of permitted development. New policy strategy on tourism and heritage, now more protected. A few say otherwise, but reform is working. These figures are further useful evidence. But the true story of reform is that when it is beginning to embed itself, push on with still more reform. That is the message loud and clear."

The overall approval rate for decisions has remained the same as last year – 93%.

The Northern Ireland Planning Development Management Statistics – 2012/13 Annual Statistical Bulleting has been published today.

Notes to editors:

1. Large Scale Investment Applications Programme for Government target is to process 60% within six months.

2. Electronic copies of the ‘Planning Service Development Management Statistical Bulletin’ are available at

3. For media enquiries please contact DOE Press Office 028 9025 6058 or out of office hours, contact the EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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