Draft PPS14: Sustainable Development in the Countryside
Policy Context: Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland 2025
2.1 The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) provides an overarching strategic framework for development plans and planning policies. It also provides a framework to protect and enhance the physical, natural and man-made assets of the Region. By statute all new plans and policies must be in general conformity with the RDS. The RDS promotes a Plan, Monitor and Manage approach to regional development.
2.2 The RDS reflects national and international commitments to a sustainable approach to accommodating growth within the Region. This principle is firmly established in the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) adopted by Member States within the EU. This document states that the aim of spatial development policies is to work towards a balanced and sustainable development of the territory of the EU by the achievement of three fundamental goals:
- economic and social cohesion;
- conservation and management of natural resources and the cultural heritage; and
- more balanced competitiveness of the European territory.
2.3 The RDS states that the application of the principles of sustainable development must be at the heart of future rural development. This will be achieved by the following strategic objectives:
- supporting the development of a strong, diversified and competitive rural economy served by the Regional Strategic Transport Network;
- developing a living and working countryside which recognises the unique rural character of the Region and contributes to a sense of belonging in local rural areas;
- promoting the continuing renewal and revitalisation of towns and villages in rural Northern Ireland;
- improving the accessibility of the rural community to employment, services and regional amenities; and
- managing and enhancing the natural and built heritage in rural areas.