Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Preamble (Page 2 of 2)
In preparing and prior to publication of the Draft Plan, the Department prepared a number of Technical Supplements which provided background and technical information that has informed the Plan proposals. These supplements, listed below, do not form part of the statutory Plan:
- Technical Supplements which deal with population and housing, industry, commerce, education, social and community facilities, tourism, open space, sport and outdoor recreation, public utilities, transportation and public participation.
- A Countryside Assessment Technical Supplement which includes an appraisal of environmental assets, an assessment of the landscape of the District, an analysis of rural development pressure and an appraisal of each settlement in terms of its character, assets and constraints, conservation issues and settlement development limit.
- A Strategic Environmental Appraisal (SEA) comprising an assessment of the probable environmental impacts of the policies and proposals contained within the Plan.
Habitats Regulations Assessment
Regulation 64B of The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) states that where a land use plan is likely to have a significant effect on a European site in Northern Ireland or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), the plan-making authority for that plan shall, before the plan is given effect, make an appropriate assessment of the implications for the site in view of that site’s conservation objectives. In light of the conclusions of the assessment, and subject to considerations of overriding public interest, the plan-making authority shall give effect to the land use plan only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the European site.
Having carried out of a Test of Likely Significance (TOLS), an appropriate assessment of the impacts of the Plan has been carried out on twelve sites within or in close proximity to the Plan Area, namely:
- Lough Neagh & Lough Beg SPA and Lough Neagh & Lough Beg Ramsar
- Carn-Glenshane SAC
- Wolf Island Bog SAC
- Dead Island Bog SAC
- Ballynahone Bog SAC and Ballynahone Bog Ramsar
- Curran Bog SAC
- Teal Lough SAC
- River Roe & Tributaries SAC
- Banagher Glen SAC
- Owenkillew River SAC
- Rea’s Wood & Farr’s Bay SAC
- Upper Ballinderry SAC
A Habitats Regulations Assessment Report is published along with the Plan. This has concluded that the Plan will not adversely affect the integrity of any European site.
Equality of Opportunity
The Northern Ireland Act 1998 has placed the following statutory requirement on each public authority;
1. To carry out their functions with due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity:
(a) between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;
(b) between men and women generally;
(c) between persons with a disability and persons without; and
(d) between persons with dependants and persons without; and
2. Without prejudice to its obligations under subsection (1) a public authority shall, in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland, have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.
The Department has sought to ensure that the Plan does not have the effect of discriminating against individuals or groups of people who fall within these categories. The Equality Impact Assessment of the Plan Proposals has considered any potentially adverse effects on these groups. The Assessment is published along with the Plan.
Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy
The Government’s Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy ‘Lifetime Opportunities’ was published by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in 2006. It outlines a set of long term goals and targets to work towards eliminating poverty and social exclusion in Northern Ireland by 2020. Public policy in general is expected to take account of anti-poverty / social inclusion considerations, for example through enabling disadvantaged groups and communities to benefit from better access to employment opportunities.
One of the main functions of a development plan is to facilitate development and create a land use framework that will allow investment to take place. The Plan seeks to apply the Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy through specific objectives, policies and proposals.
Review of Public Administration
The Review of Public Administration (RPA) is a far-reaching review of the arrangements for the delivery of public services in Northern Ireland. It is proposed that there will be a two-tier model within which all public services within Northern Ireland will operate. The regional tier, which largely comprises central government departments, will concentrate mainly on policy development, strategic planning and setting and monitoring standards. The sub-regional tier, that will have local government at its core, will be the main vehicle for the delivery of local public services.
Key decisions on the future shape of local government announced in March 2008 proposed the rationalisation of the current 26 local government districts to create 11 new local government districts.
Development Plans and responsibility for Development Management, and Enforcement will fall under the new local government arrangements.