Hazzard announces planning review on renewable energy and countryside development

Date published: 27 September 2016


Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has today announced a review of planning policies on renewable energy and countryside development.

Infrastructure Minister Hazzard

The review will be informed by external consultants who can provide specialist research and advice‎ in relation to the rapidly changing technologies and types of renewable energy development and their impacts, including wind turbines and solar farms, and recommend the best policy approach going forward. It is expected to be completed in 2018. 

Speaking as he announced the review, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said:

“As Minister with responsibility for planning I want to continue to improve our planning system and to make sure that it is effective and efficient and that it operates in the wider public interest.    

“The Strategic Planning Policy Statement (SPPS) is a key component of the planning system and it is vital to ensure that current policy is sufficiently robust and appropriate for communities across the North.

“The recent responses to the Calls for Evidence provided a useful insight into the operation and impact of the existing SPPS policies and endorsed the need for review.  My officials are now progressing this work. 

“I am committed to ensuring that the SPPS delivers for local communities and the North as a whole and that the planning system addresses the present as well as the long term future needs of our society.  There will be opportunities for stakeholder engagement and public consultation next year and I would encourage people to give their views.  Any future changes to the policy would be subject to public consultation.”

The current policies are set out in the Strategic Planning Policy Statement available on this website at:


Notes to editors: 

  1. The SPPS was published in final form on 28 September 2015, following Executive Committee agreement.
  2. ‘Calls for Evidence’ on strategic planning policy contained in the SPPS, for Development in the Countryside and Renewable Energy closed on 6 May 2016.
  3. Summary papers on the responses to the Calls for Evidence can be requested from the Department's Regional Planning Directorate by e-mailing planning@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk
  4. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.         

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