Suspension of public planning events extended until end of September
A TEMPORARY suspension on staging public events as part of the planning process has been extended until the end of September.
The requirement to hold public engagements ahead of the submission of major planning application was suspended by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon on May 1 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The events have been replaced with online consultations. Initially introduced for five months, the continuing restrictions have resulted in the suspension being extended.
Nichola Mallon has now confirmed that the suspension will remain in place September 30 2021. However she said the date will be kept under review.
“The planning system has a critical role in supporting our future economic and societal recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. My officials and local government officials are working together to ensure the planning system responds as effectively as possible,” said the Infrastructure Minister.
Describing it as an essential step, Ms Mallon said: “If legislation is not implemented this may result in the application process being invalid, leading to a backlog of major applications which would hinder our economic recovery after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
“Public participation remains an important part of the planning process. To ensure that this is not compromised, the published advice and guidance on appropriate measures to replace face to face public events, such as on-line engagement, will remain in place.
“This will ensure that pre-application public participation in the planning process can continue during the emergency period and will facilitate a more consistent approach across the 11 council areas.”