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Fast-tracking green schemes would 'secure long-term competitiveness'

A body which represents surveyors today called for renewable energy projects to be fast-tracked through the planning process.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said fast-tracking green schemes would help secure Northern Ireland' long-term competitiveness.

Michael Doran, the institution's Northern Ireland spokesman, said the move would also boost the economy in the short-term. "Northern Ireland's high dependence on imported fossil fuels and our significant levels of energy inefficiency require bold initiatives.

"Northern Ireland has a very high potential for renewable energy generation and we believe that fast-tracking renewable schemes through the planning process would be one way to more quickly increase the proportion of our energy that comes from indigenous renewable sources.

"If we don't significantly increase renewable energy generation in Northern Ireland, we will continue to rely heavily on imported fossil fuels, which can be subject to significant price fluctuation and to interruptions in supply.

"Making a significant step forward now in terms of our production of renewable energy will place our economy and society strongly for the future.

"Investing in renewable energy infrastructure would also bring an economic benefit by providing work for profession and industries.

"Such work could help Northern Ireland develop expertise in renewable energy which it would export overseas," he added.