Ireland Climate action and sustainable development, Communities and society, Democracy, devolution and governance

Issues for the regions – time to get planning the future of urban and rural Ireland?

Ahead of LGiU Ireland’s coverage on this, our Director, Andy Johnston, explores the issues highlighted by the three regional assemblies in regard to the National Planning Framework.

Several LGiU Briefings have covered the on-going development of the National Planning Framework (NPF), noting the importance of the initiative in setting a development agenda  for the future of the State over the years to 2040 and beyond. Notwithstanding the importance of the Framework Policy which hopefully will be completed before the end of the year… politics allowing. It is a policy statement which necessarily has had to be very strategic in scope and range. The detailed planning associated with creating a sustainable Ireland in the years to 2040 and beyond will be mainly set within the forthcoming Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies which are the responsibility of the three regional assemblies.

The process of preparation of these critical policy documents has now commenced and while it is important to note that the NPF itself remains to be completed, any person, NGO,  statutory agency, or local authority concerned with planning for Ireland’s economic, social, environmental or cultural future, now need to focus on what will essentially be the detail at regional level, of the National Planning Framework. Hence the importance of the recent publication of the 3 regional issues papers by the respective regional assemblies. The Northern and Western Regional Assembly’s is here, the Southern Assembly’s is here, and the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly’s is here.

As the process develops, LGiU will examine, in detail, the drafts of the 3 RSESs, but for the moment we would urge all those concerned about the country’s sustainable, socio-economic development to give active consideration to the challenges and opportunities as highlighted in the Issues Papers.

In recent weeks as the consultation process for the NPF came to a conclusion, many contributors raised critical issues about the nature of both urban and rural Ireland in 2040. In the 3 issues papers they will find that these issues are fully highlighted and developed by each of  the Assemblies. Those interested in Ireland’s future development path should not forgo the opportunity to get into the detail of that future which is now presented though the publication of the Issues Papers. Lest there be any confusion just because a submission has been sent to the NPF Team in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, does not mean that such contributions will feed directly into the detail of the drafting of the RSESs. Each RSES will in its own right be a separate process so it is important to contribute to each process. All those who have already contributed to the NPF consultation process, and hopefully many more, should and must contribute actively to the response to the 3 Issues Papers if the preparation of the draft RSES in each region is to be robust.

The closing date for submissions in each case is 5pm on Friday 26th January 2018.