Regional and Strategic Planning is now within the new Department for Infrastructure (DfI). Staff in Planning Policy and Strategic Planning who were previously in the Department of Environment have all transferred to the new DfI. For more details see this guide.
The successful court action brought by First Minister Arlene Foster against the decision of Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to approve BMAP deepens public confusion about the future planning of the Greater Belfast area. Question marks now surround both planning policies and land zonings for housing, retail and economic development. While media headlines focus on the John Lewis issue this is only one of the many implications of the decision which planners in Belfast and other new councils will be struggling to clarify in the coming months and years until they each put in place their own Local development Plans.
Further details at
Note: BMAP (Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan) covers not just Belfast but also large parts of Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down. It was approved by Minister Durkan in September 2014.
The Minister of Environment, Mark H Durkan, has now agreed to provide the full level of grant aid due this year for our independent Planning Advice and Capacity Building service. This news was enthusiastically welcomed at our Annual General Meeting held today and we now want to thank all our members, groups we work with and the many other people who have supported the case for our funding throughout this year.
Expressions of support and the high regard groups have for the quality of the advice services we provide had a huge impact on the Minister’s decision. It was also significant that support came from all communities and all parts of the region and from across the entire political spectrum. We are determined to continue to provide advice and support to those who would not otherwise have access to impartial professional planning services and we look forward to benefitting from the continued support of the groups and people we help.
Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, today launched The Environment Fund – a grant programme which will support projects whose aims are to:
- ensure good habitat quality, landscape and species abundance and diversity; and
- promote health, well-being, resource efficiency and sustainable economic development.
The Minister said “This grant programme will help tackle the most acute environmental priorities facing us in the North. It will go directly to projects that protect and improve the environment that we and future generations live in. It will reduce marine litter, galvanise volunteer effort, improve air quality, deliver on the Biodiversity Strategy and provide outdoor recreation opportunities for us to enjoy our environment”
The grant programme is open to eligible not-for-profit organisations and councils and applications are being accepted until 10 December 2015. Application details will be available on the Department’s website from 12 November 2015.
We have successfully secured a Civic Activism Award from Building Change Trust for a new project ‘Community Planning is here: Get Involved!’. The project aims to raise awareness of the new power of Community Planning and to provide opportunities to get involved in shaping Community Planning processes. We will work with councils and community development network organisations in three new local council areas to test a number of engagement tools to encourage people to participate in Community Planning. These are in:
Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council
- Pop Up Democracy
- Participatory Card Games
Mid and East Antrim District Council
- Public Forums
- Citizen Reporting
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
- Community Visioning
- Citizen Reporting
To find out more about the project contact Louise O’Kane on 028 9023 9444 or firstname.lastname@example.org #getinvolved