CBI NI Response to Environment Minister Statement on Plannin
Commenting on the statement by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan MLA to the Planning Forum on proposed improvements to speed up the planning process, CBI Northern Ireland Director Nigel Smyth said:
“While there have undoubtedly been improvements in the planning process in recent years, we welcome today’s statement as an acknowledgment that more needs to be done by the Minister, his Department and other statutory consultees to speed up and simplify processes as a means to further enhance our attractiveness as a region to do business and encourage investment.
"The measures announced by the Minister are strongly welcomed, must be implemented speedily and we must also have greater transparency regarding performance.
"Businesses have expressed significant frustration with the role, in some instances, of statutory consultees in the planning application process and we therefore particularly welcome the steps that have been detailed today to address this.
“Once necessary consultation with local communities and stakeholders on the part of applicants is complete, it is crucial that planning officials process applications speedily. The certainty in decision making that the Minister spoke about is therefore something we strongly support.
“Undoubtedly the planning system, with the development of the Single Strategic Planning Policy Statement and the transfer of the majority of planning power to local councils in 2015, is in the middle of one of, if not the, biggest reform periods in its history.
"It is crucial that we have in place a system that is fit for purpose and assists in driving forward the nascent recovery in our economic fortunes and encourages the investment we need.
"The draft Single Strategic Planning Policy Statement will be key to this and we look forward to assessing its contents once it is published in the coming weeks.”