Department launches public consultation on improvements to the planning application process

Date published: 11 December 2023


The Department for Infrastructure is inviting the public to have their say as a consultation on proposed revisions and changes to the Planning (Development Management) Regulations (NI) 2015 is launched.

Planning process consultation

These proposals are part of the Planning Improvement Programme (PIP) being brought forward by the Department, working closely with local government and partners, to improve current processes and the performance and delivery of the planning system.

Planning matters affect everyone and the Department is continually seeking opportunities to make positive changes to legislation which will give all stakeholders a greater opportunity to engage on those planning applications which impact them most. 

This consultation opening today proposes changes in three areas:

  • a review of the classes of development to ensure they reflect current and future development trends and that the associated thresholds take a balanced approach to community consultation in planning applications for major development.
  • proposals to make pre-determination hearings discretionary for councils which will help focus resources and reduce delays in issuing planning decisions for some planning applications; and
  • proposals to introduce online/digital methods into the pre-application community consultation (PACC) process, to enhance accessibility and encourage participation in the planning process by a broader range of people.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 3 March 2024 and the Department welcomes views from the public, stakeholders and planning authorities.

The consultation document with full details of how to provide your views is available at:  Consultation on the review of The Planning (Development Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

Following the closure of the consultation, the responses will be considered, and should there be an absence of Ministers, any final decisions will be taken in light of the decision-making framework at that time.


Notes to editors: 

  1. In 2021 the Department undertook a review of the 2011 Planning Act and the Review Report was published in January 2022.
  2. These proposals are part of a wider Planning Improvement Programme (PIP) . The PIP is being brought forward by the Department, in collaboration with local government and other partners, with the aim of creating an efficient, effective and equitable planning system, trusted to deliver high quality, sustainable inclusive and healthy places.
  3. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at:
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  5. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra on Facebook  @DepartmentforInfrastructure and on LinkedIn at DfILinkedIn


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