Phase 2 Consultation on the proposed Planning Reform and Transfer Subordinate Legislation

This Planning NI consultation is the second of a two-phased consultation on proposals for subordinate legislation for the reform of the planning system and the transfer of the majority of planning functions to the newly elected 11 district councils.

The reform and transfer of planning involves enacting more than 20 statutory rules (SRs), in exercise of powers already established in the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 (the 2011 Act) within a relatively short time period. In order to manage this workload and to provide a co-ordinated picture of how the changes proposed in legislation link together, the Department is consulting in two phases.

Phase 2 of the consultation is concerned with for subordinate legislation in order to inform the process of engagement with the Assembly’s Environment Committee as part of the legislative process.

The proposals in the phase 2 consultation deal with a range of matters which, while important in delivering the broader range of planning reforms, are not essential to the continued operation of the system when powers transfer on 1st April 2015. While the day one essentials have been prioritised in phase 1 the Department will nevertheless aim to have these reforms introduced for April 2015.

The proposals in this phase 2 consultation relate to the following areas:

• simplified planning zones;

• levels of fixed penalties; and

• modification and discharge of planning agreements.

In addition to proposals relating to changes to improve the planning system resulting from, or dependent upon, the new powers in the 2011 Act, and which are subject to public consultation, there is also a limited number of amendments required to take account of the new two-tier planning system. Whereas under the current system the Department acts as the single unitary planning authority, under the two-tier system there is a need to provide for changes in processes to support the roles of both councils and the Department as planning authorities.

Changes to subordinate legislation which do not involve the introduction of a new policy or a change in existing policy may be regarded as technical and do not require public consultation. In addition to the technical SRs identified as day one essentials in phase 1 the Department considers that the four pieces of subordinate legislation fall into this technical category. As such the Department is not consulting on this legislation although it will still be subject to the normal legislative process and the full scrutiny of the Assembly. 

Date: 03/11/2014 Start of consultation

            01/01/2014 End of consultation

AuthorDepartment of the Environment

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 3.1 and 3.4.

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