To: All MLAs

Achieving an Effective Planning Bill

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Dear MLA,

We believe two of the changes proposed to the Planning Bill to be unnecessary and unworkable. Modifying Clause 2a by inserting the objective of ‘promoting economic development’ and the addition of Clause 6 (introducing the assessment of economic advantages and disadvantages) both risk leading to increased delays in the system rather than achieving the goal of the Bill which is to speed and simplify the planning process. The concept of sustainable development already includes promoting economic development.

We ask that you consider the following modification to clarify the importance of economic development:

"Where the Department or the Planning Appeals Commission exercises any function under Part 2 of this Part, the Department or, as the case may be, the Commission, must exercise that function with the objective of furthering sustainable development, which secures
• Economic prosperity;
• Protection and enhancement of the environment; and
• A strong, healthy, just and equal society.”

Why is this important?

The current wording of the proposal does not recognise that sustainable development includes economic considerations. The proposals could give unintended additional emphasis on one of the three aspects of sustainable development, all of which must be considered when taking decisions on future development. In Clause 6 the proposed requirement for assessing economic advantages and disadvantages of developments would cause great difficulty in practical delivery. It would also put at risk 40 years of case law developed under the existing system and could lead to major delays in planning decisions.

How it will be delivered

By Email to all MLAs; possible press conference.

Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Reasons for signing

  • The strategy seems to be to exaggerate the economic benefit. Short-term gain at the expense of conserving the environment for our children.
  • Our energy intensive and dispersed housing is evidence that the DoE sets the bar too low for developers already.
  • To safeguard our heritage, architectural and environmental.