Tuesday, 12 December 2006
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Question 138: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when the proposed guidelines for planning authorities on development plans will be finalised; the matters expected to be included in the guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42583/06]
Draft Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Development Plans were published for public consultation last April. The draft Guidelines aim to ensure that all development plans are prepared to the highest possible standards on a consistent basis across planning authorities in terms of setting clear aims and objectives. This includes the process of drafting, public consultation, presentation and adoption of plans. The draft Guidelines also emphasise the importance within such plans of creating a clear strategic framework for the proper planning and sustainable development of the relevant area consistent with the longer-term aims set out in the National Spatial Strategy and regional planning guidelines.
The draft guidelines flesh out the role and nature of high quality development plans in terms of:
their need to be strategic;
their role as a catalyst for positive change and progress;
their objective anticipation of future needs;
their role in protecting the environment and heritage;
their consistency with other plans and policies;
their need to address diverse community needs; and
their broad ownership by elected members, sectoral interests and the community.
Other key issues addressed in the draft Guidelines is the format of development plans and the need for continuous monitoring and evaluation of their implementation, and the key role that elected members play in the overall process. Comments and submissions received during the public consultation period are currently being considered by my Department with a view to finalising the Guidelines early in the new year.