PPS 4 (Draft): Industry, Business and Distribution
Policy Context: Introduction
1.1 The Northern Ireland economy has performed well over the last decade, and it is one of the fastest-improving regions in the United Kingdom, measured against a range of economic indicators. However, in spite of good progress, the region still has a low-wage economy overdependent on a number of declining or slow-moving industries and on the public sector. This is recognised as an unsustainable position because of technological change, increased globalisation and the contribution now made to the economy by the non-manufacturing sector.
1.2 A key concern for government, therefore, is to restructure the region’s economy from a low-wage, low-value added to a high-wage, high-value added, knowledge-based economy which can meet the challenges of a highly competitive, global environment.
1.3 The Government considers it essential to create a vibrant economy, to produce employment and wealth for the future, if a cohesive, inclusive and just society is to be achieved. Economic development is important in order to raise the quality of life for the people of Northern Ireland, through increasing economic opportunities for all, on a socially and environmentally sustainable basis.
1.4 The planning system has a key role to play in achieving a vibrant economy. It seeks to promote economic development through supportive planning policies, zoning land for development, identifying and protecting development opportunities and integrating employment generation with essential supporting provision in terms of housing and infrastructure.
1.5 This PPS seeks to facilitate the economic development needs of the region in ways consistent with the protection of the environment. Such safeguarding of the environment, and the fostering of a ‘clean, green image’, can provide economic advantages and employment in itself in terms of the promotion of, for example, tourism, recreation, agri-food and quality of life attractions.
1.6 The PPS has been formulated within the context of the strategic policies and advice contained in the Economic Development Strategy (Strategy 2010), the Regional Development Strategy, the Northern Ireland Transport Policy Statement, ’Moving Forward’ and the Regional Transportation Strategy .