To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the progress on the new National Planning Framework which appears to be the proposed successor to the National Spatial Strategy; the way the new framework will achieve the principles of sustainable and regionally-balanced development; and when it is likely the framework will be published – Seán Kyne.
Reply: Minister of State for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Paudie Coffey
The 2002 National Spatial Strategy (NSS) was Ireland’s first national strategic spatial planning framework and outlined policies and objectives to secure a better balance of social, economic and physical development and population growth between regions through the co-ordinated development of nine gateway cities and towns, and nine hub towns, together with complementary policies to activate the potential for lasting economic development in their hinterlands and wider regions.
The NSS remains in place, but having regard to the significantly changed economic circumstances that the country now faces, the Government recently approved the commencement of the preparation of a new National Planning Framework as a successor to the NSS. Arrangements in this regard will now be put in place and this will be a significant area of activity during 2015.
I intend that the new National Planning Framework will be developed in an inclusive and participative manner with all relevant national, regional and local interests as the strategic context for:
(1) planning in Ireland at national level, in relation to relevant Government policies and investment concerning national and regional development with particular emphasis on economic development and investment in housing, water services, transport, communications, energy, health and education infrastructure;
(2) development, by the three new regional assemblies, of their new regional spatial and economic strategies, and
(3) planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála in their statutory planning functions.
I intend to make a further statement in the near future on broader arrangements in relation to the preparation of the Framework. In light of that and the need to take account of the public participation and consultation input as to the content of the Framework, it would be premature, at this stage, to outline underlying principles or to commit to a publication date for the framework.