Planning Portal

Good Planning Can Bolster The Economy While Protecting The Environment Argues Nesbitt

Published on Wed, 8 May 2002
The economy and the environment can both be winners if we have good planning processes.
That was the message from Environment Minister, Mr Dermot Nesbitt MLA, when he delivered the keynote speech at the Construction Industry Group Conference in Belfast today.
Mr Nesbitt said: "Good planning will promote appropriate development, not stifle it. It will also bolster productivity and competitiveness. At the same time it will contribute to sustaining and protecting the environment.
"However, businesses must play their part in partnership with the Government and the community to ensure that development is appropriate. This process is about improving the delivery of planning and the development industry has a vital contribution to make to the debate.
"That is the carrot. However, there is also a stick. For those developers who refuse to work in partnership, I am seeking the Assembly’s agreement to stronger enforcement powers and stiffer penalties, and I will not hesitate to use them."
Referring to the Modernising Planning Processes produced by DOE’s Planning Service Mr Nesbitt said: "What I want is to deliver a simpler, faster and more accessible planning process. In view of the increasing number of planning applications since Devolution, I am determined that Planning should not be an obstacle to future social and economic expansion. We have already increased the number of planning decisions each year by 20%, but I want to do better. In order to deal with such growth and rising expectations from developers and other interested parties including the public, I am anxious to ensure that the Planning Service meets four main challenges.
"These are:
  • more speedy decision making, particularly on major planning applications in order to support economic development, job creation and social progress;
  • greater clarity in planning policy, which underpins individual planning applications;
  • faster progress towards full and up-to-date development plan coverage
  • enhanced transparency in the planning process including effective participation by the public and community groups."
Mr Nesbitt concluded: "Since coming into office I have been determined to ensure that improved planning processes are put in place. Where necessary, I will also continue to seek increased resources to deal with the challenges faced by the Planning Service. I very much welcome the contribution from the Construction Industry Group in helping the Planning Service to meet the many important difficult issues it faces."

Notes to Editors

  1. Environment Minister, Mr Dermot Nesbitt MLA, gave the keynote speech to the Construction Industry Group, conference on Modernising Planning Processes in the Ramada Hotel Shaw’s Bridge at 9.30am Thursday 9 May 2002.
  2. The Conference is the vehicle chosen by the Construction Industry Group for their response to the Planning Service consultation paper on Modernising Planning Processes.
  3. This consultation paper flows from a commitment to review operational planning processes in the Programme for Government 2001-2002.
  4. The consultation paper is designed to spark discussion on a range of ideas and options for improving the operation of planning processes in Northern Ireland. The paper focuses on the 3 key aspects of the planning process: the development control process (the way in which individual planning applications are dealt with); the process of preparing planning policy for Northern Ireland as a whole; and the process of preparing development plans for local areas within Northern Ireland.
  5. For further media information please contact:-
    Philip Maguire, DOE Press Office Telephone: 028 9054 0013, Mobile 07713 652815
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