McReynolds welcomes NI Chamber of Commerce paper on reforms to planning system

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Peter McReynolds MLA has welcomed the newly published Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce paper on planning improvement and reform.

Peter McReynolds Infrastructure Planning

Commenting after its release, the East Belfast MLA said: “The recommendations in this report are exactly the kind of measures we should be implementing now to reverse the decline of a struggling system. There is no silver bullet to immediately remedy the planning process, however, with a proactive and collaborative approach across all arms of the planning system, it is possible to restore the system to fully realise its economic, environmental, and societal benefits.


“The report is the latest in a series of reviews from various bodies, spanning several years, all of which have identified the need for deep and meaningful changes to the planning system. There is a widely recognised consensus amongst stakeholders that improvements are essential and long overdue. This report brings forward 10 overarching recommendations, but recognises that these improvements are not stand-alone, and therefore priority should be given to legislating for planning improvement in a forthcoming Executive.


“I am especially delighted to see included within these recommendations a prioritisation for renewable energy projects, especially those classed as regionally significant, to ensure progress will be towards the target for 80% renewable energy consumption by 2030.


“My Alliance colleagues and I have long recognised the need for a coherent response from planning regarding the renewable sector, and for every year that passes, this becomes increasingly pivotal as the number of renewable energy applications continue to stagnate. We need more renewable energy to reach our Net Zero commitments and today’s document can help deliver upon that.


“It is indisputable that urgent reform and measured improvements of the planning system are imperative, for the betterment of local communities and the region more broadly. Moreover, it is another reminder of the importance of a restored Assembly and Executive to ensure systems are working for the benefit and development of communities across Northern Ireland.”