The Royal Town Planning Institute's new Chief Executive Trudi Elliott got off to a flying start by visiting RTPI staff and member committees in Belfast and Dublin in her second week.
Trudi Elliott said: "Our discussions revolved around the expertise that planners have in enabling much-needed economic growth. In such a time of change and challenge, and with elections for the Dail and for the Northern Ireland Assembly on the horizon, it will be important for the RTPI to get across to politicians how planners can help in facilitating the recovery that everyone wants to see."
Trudi also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from planning schools, discussing curricula, professional development, and the outlook for planning graduates.
She added: "There are very different planning systems in Northern Ireland and in Eire, and I am conscious that we have much to learn in England from other systems. The Localism Bill is currently going through Parliament and I am keen to see the English system draw on the best elements from other systems, in particular, the system in the Republic of Ireland enshrines local participation in plan making."
Cuts to the Northern Ireland Assemblys budget and difficult economic times in Eire make Trudi Elliotts visit a timely one, and the RTPI's new Chief Executive reassured members from both committees that the Institute will continue to make representations on behalf of the profession at the highest levels.
Trudi looks forward joining the celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of the RTPI in Ireland later this year.
Trudi Elliott took up the post at the RTPI on the 4 January. She was previously Chief Executive at the Government Office for the West Midlands.