The Planning Bill was introduced to the NI Assembly on 14 January 2013. The Bill aims to speed up reforms and modernise the planning system before the intended transfer of the majority of planning powers to local government in 2015.
The primary objective of the Bill is to accelerate the implementation of a number of reforms contained within the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. The Bill also introduces additional provisions to underpin the role of planning in promoting economic development.
The reforms in the 2011 Act are critical to improving the planning system. The Bill will allow the reforms to be in place sooner and will provide an opportunity for the Department to test them before planning powers transfer. It also paves the way for the transfer of a planning system which councils, planners, developers and the public are already using and which they know and understand.
The Bill is intended as an interim measure most of which will remain in place only until it is possible to fully commence the 2011 Act at which point it will be repealed.
Key provisions in the Bill aim to deliver:
– Measures to strengthen the planning system in promoting economic development;
– Measures to further sustainable development and enhance the environment;
– Faster processing of planning applications;
– Faster and fairer planning appeals system;
– Enhanced community involvement; and
– Simpler and tougher enforcement.
information taken from Planning NI website