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Policy in Northern Ireland

Current policy consultations

RTPI NI is asked to comment on various consultation documents. Members' views on current consultations are valued and always welcome and should be submitted by e-mail to the RTPI Northern Ireland Policy Officer Claire Williamson at or by post to Royal Town Planning Institute (NI), PO Box 69, Carrickfergus BT38 8WX

Live consultations

RTPI NI, with the support of the RTPI NI Policy and Research Forum, provides responses to a range of Government consultation documents.

The Northern Ireland Assembly and it's Committies dissolved on 26th January 2017 in preperation for the Northern Ireland ASsembly Elections on 2nd March 2017.  Since this time the Northern Ireland Assembly has failed to reconvene.  Conseqently the Assembly has published only a limited number of consultation documents for public consideration. 

Documents currently being considered are listed below.

Recently submitted consultations

Ireland 2040, Our Plan, National Planning Framework

Economy 2030 Industrial Strategy for Northern Ireland


PAC Independent Examination of Local Development Plans draft procedures

This publication explains how the Planning Appeals Commission proposes to carry out independent examinations into the local develoment plans.  Although not an exact statement of the law, it is intended to assist those who will be taking part in the examination process.  The RTPI NI response ot this document can be found here


Review of the Northern Ireland Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors

The consultation document reflected the recommendations made by the Code of Conduct Review Working Group.   The RTPI NI response can be viewed here.


The Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) regulations (NI) 2017

The consultation sets out proposals for implementing the European Directive 2014/52/EU amedning Directive 2011/91/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment into domestic legislation.  A copy of the RTPI NI response can be viewed here.


Review of Permitted Development Rights for Minseral Exploration

The consultation sets out proposals for amending permitted development rights, including removing permitted development rights for petroleum exploration from Class A of Part 16 of the Schedule to the Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015.  A copy of the RTPI NI response can be found here


Draft Progamme for Government 2016-21

The draft Programme for Government contains 14 strategic outcomes which, taken together, set a clear direction of travel and enable continuous imporvment on essential components of societal wellbeing. They touch on every aspect of government, including the attainment of good health and education, economic success and confident and peaceful communities.  The outcomes are supported by 48 indicators which are statements for change. 

RTPI NI made comments in relation to specific outcomes and indicators within the PfG delivery plans considered to be of particular relevance to the RTPI NI at this time.  A full copy of this response can be viewed here.


Consultation Response to The Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

The Department of the Environment issued a consultation paper on its proposals for amendment of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.  The purpose of the consultation was to obtain views on the specific amendment to the Hazardous Substances Regulations described within the paper.  The RTPI NI response to this paper can be viewed here.
The Hazardous Substances Regulations apply the Seveso II Directive (Directive 96/82/EC, as amended), to the planning process in Northern Ireland. The Seveso II Directive requires that the objectives of preventing major-accidents involving dangerous substances are taken into account in land use planning policies. Following an EU review, the Seveso II Directive was replaced by the Seveso III Directive from 1st June 2015.

Public Consultation on Policy Proposals for a Rural Proofing Bill

In February 2015 the Department for Rural Development (DARD) published a consultation document seeking views around the proposed Bill.  The proposed Bill would require policy-makers to assess whether proposed policy is likely to have a different impact in rural areas compared with elsewhere. It will support the equitable treatment of rural dwellers by requiring their needs and the impact on rural communities to be appropriately addressed in the development and delivery of policy and public services.  The RTPI NI response to this document can be viewed here.

Draft Statutory Guidance for the Operation of Community Planning Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014

The Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 makes provision for the new duty of community planning on councils and their community planning partners. The 2014 Act provides the high level framework for the operation of community planning, and states that a district council must initiate, and having done so, maintain and facilitate a process known as community planning. The district council should have a leadership role in this process and be supported by their community planning partners. This guidance is intended to assist councils and their community planning partners in the introduction of this new duty from 1 April 2015.

In December 2014 The Department of the Environment published the Draft Statutory Guidance seeking comments. The purpose of the proposed guidance is to provide councils and their community planning partners with further detail on the implementation of the legislation and to explain the terms of the new duty.  The RTPI NI response to this draft guidance can be found here