Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Planning Bill continued

The consideration stage of the Planning Bill, encompassing 121 proposed amendments, was brought to the assembly by environment minister Edwin Poots, on 8 March 2011.

The bill aims to reform the planning process through changes to development plans and the planning appeals and enforcement system.

The bill also gives effect to the Review of Public Administration (RPA) changes to transfer local development planning decision responsibilities to district councils.

Environment committee chairperson Cathal Boylan of Sinn Féin proposed a series on amendments to the bill.

He said the committee was disappointed that a number of amendments they thought been agreed with the minister had not been pursued by him

The committee had therefore come up with its own amendments.

The committee's amendments covered subjects such as training for councils in their new planning role, sustainable development and climate change.

The UUP's Danny Kinahan felt that planning reform was being rushed through without adequate debate, whilst the SDLP's Patsy McGlone said the changes to the planning system should have followed the reform of local government.

Anna Lo of the Alliance Party objected to the committee's amendments on sustainable development saying that they weakened the bill.

The DUP's Peter Weir warned against imposing duties on councils with regard to climate change.

DUP opposition to the climate change amendment was defeated on a recorded vote.

Anna Lo of the Alliance Party brought forward an amendment allowing for the introduction of third-party appeals into the planning process.

This was opposed by the DUP which applied for a petition of concern, meaning that the vote would have to be taken on a cross-community basis.

There was considerable criticism of the DUP for using the petition of concern, which meant the amendment would almost certainly be defeated.

Anna Lo withdrew the amendment.

The Planning Bill passed its consideration stage

You can see the first part of the Planning bill debate


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