Planning Portal

Angela Smith Announces Planning Fees Increase

Published on Wed, 23 Mar 2005
Environment Minister, Angela Smith, today announced increases in planning fees.
The Minister said: "The increases follow public consultation on the review of planning fees in June 2003. The responses to the consultation paper supported the recovery of additional costs and a much needed move towards a simpler fee structure."
The Minister explained that this is part of the Modernising Planning Processes Implementation Plan, launched in February 2003, which gave a commitment to setting fees that better reflect the true cost of processing planning applications. The new fees will be introduced at the beginning of May 2005 and are expected to generate a twelve per cent increase in income.
Angela Smith added: "The additional resources generated from planning fees will enable the Department over the next two to three years to deliver a fundamental improvement in performance, a better quality service to its customers and speedier planning decisions."

Notes to Editors

  1. Planning Fees recover the costs incurred in processing planning applications. The costs currently recovered are determined in line with the statutory authority in Article 127 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991, the Department of the Environment (Fees) Order (NI) 1996, and government policy on fees and charges.
  2. Planning Fees were last increased by the Planning (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2004 for the financial year 2004/05.
  3. At present, the fees paid by applicants do not cover the total overall cost of the Development Control Process.
  4. The Department consulted on a review of planning fees in June 2003 which proposed the recovery of additional costs of the Planning Service and the costs of key consultees in the planning process, i.e. the Environment & Heritage Service, the Roads Service and the Water Service. A simpler fee structure was also proposed.
  5. The projected costs and income for 2005/06 take account of the introduction of the simpler fee structure and include the following additional costs of processing planning applications:
    • dealing with pre-application enquiries and associated work.
    • monitoring compliance with planning conditions.
    • Planning Service participation in planning appeals.
    • the costs of Environment and Heritage Service as a key consultee.
  6. Recovery of the costs of consultees from outside DOE requires additional legislation which will be sought in the forthcoming Planning Reform Order.
  7. Cost projections for 2005/06 indicate that an increase in Planning Service income of the order of 12% is required to cover the Agency's anticipated expenditure on the processing of planning applications. However, due to the introduction of the new fee structure, which in some cases has combined a number of fees into one fee, and efforts to relate fees in each category to costs incurred in processing those applications, the percentage change in the fees charged will vary. For the majority of applicants the increase will be in the range 11 - 13%. There will be some applicants undertaking small scale development who will find the fee reduced or unchanged, while for others the increase will be more significant, particularly where it is believed costs are being under-recovered at present.
  8. The additional income will also pay for the level of resources needed to address the workload of planning applications which has been increasing year on year since the mid 1990s. It will help finance modernisation and reform of the planning process, including electronic delivery of services, which in the long term will speed up planning decisions.
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