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First deadline set in mission to streamline planning system

Environment Minister Alex Attwood is examining ways of reforming the planning system to boost the economy.

Two groups of independent specialist advisors have been appointed to consider ways that the system could be improved. The groups are scheduled to provide advice to the minister before the end of October.

Mr Attwood told the planning forum: “The interventions I am proposing aim to do exactly what we need them to do: deliver a planning system that will favour economic growth.

“The two groups that I have set up today will help me realise those plans by looking at real ways in which we can change the planning system for the better.

“They will work to tight 33 day timeframes to begin with. I am also intensifying efforts to simplify and streamline the planning system in order to make it more effective and efficient, providing applicants and the development industry with greater certainty and speed of decision making.

“With the full effect of the economic downturn now being felt, it is more crucial than ever to make this a priority. All Government activity, including planning and regulation should support economic development to ensure that Northern Ireland is a better place to live, work and invest in,” he said.