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PR 20 - Northern Ireland planning review must first clear

15 April 2008

Any review of Northern Ireland's planning system must put forward interim measures to effectively deal with current problems before the planning function is transferred either wholly or in part to local authorities, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Finance Minister, Peter Robinson, this week announced that a review of the planning service will be carried out by the Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit (PEDU). The RTPI Northern Ireland welcomes the opportunity to take part in the PEDU review and will be seeking more information on how its findings will be incorporated into the much broader Review of Public Administration which is also being carried out.

RTPI Northern Ireland believes it is vital that as part of the review process a mechanism is introduced which clears the decks ahead of the major structural changes which are proposed for the planning service, putting in place measures which keep the planning system fluid during the transitional period as well as clearing a large proportion of the backlog of applications.   

RTPI Northern Ireland Policy Advisor Brian Sore said: \"There are problems in the Northern Ireland planning system that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The priority must be to introduce mechanisms which provide workable interim solutions to the current problems ahead of the transferral of either some or all of the planning function to local authorities. Whatever the final makeup of the new planning system we don't want it heavily weighed down by the baggage of its predecessor.

\"The RTPI is also calling for the PEDU review to be strongly linked to the broader Review of Public Administration to ensure a coherent approach to planning reform.\"

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact: Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479