Plans to safeguard tourism sites
Tourism sites in Northern Ireland will be safeguarded from harmful development under new planning guidance, Environment Minister Edwin Poots has said.
Visitor attractions in countryside tourism, such as angling to the Giant's Causeway, will be protected under the new policy statement, he added.
Mr Poots said inappropriate development could prejudice the long-term interests of the tourism industry.
"Draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 16 proposes policy to safeguard tourism assets from inappropriate and harmful development in order to maintain their integrity and tourism potential," he said.
"Draft PPS 16 is a response to the challenges of future tourism growth by providing clear and up-to-date planning policy for tourism development in settlements and in the countryside. The policy will also aim to safeguard the natural and built environment, which is valued by tourists, from harmful development."
A separate Planning Policy Statement 4 will deal with economic development and the circumstances in which it will be permitted in the countryside, Mr Poots said.
He added: "It is important to strike a balance between the need to protect the countryside from unnecessary development while supporting rural communities. There will be flexibility for the reuse of existing sites and buildings, and for existing businesses to expand their premises."