Planning statistics for the period April 2021 – March 2022 are now available.
These data provide an overall view of planning activity. This includes a summary of council performance across the three statutory targets for major development applications, local development applications and enforcement cases as laid out in the Local Government (Performance Indicators and Standards) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015, along with other statistics of interest such as application approval rates.
The publication is available on the Department for Infrastructure website.
The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics 2021/22 Annual Statistical Bulletin are:
- Planning activity and processing performance during the last two years were impacted by the restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, during January and February of 2022 the Planning Portal was inaccessible for a period of time. These factors should be borne in mind and caution taken when interpreting these figures and when making comparisons with other time periods.
- During 2021/22, 13,600 planning applications were received; a 6% increase from the previous financial year. This comprised 13,454 local, 145 major and one regionally significant application.
- A total of 12,914 planning applications were decided during 2021/22; an increase of 23% from the previous financial year. Decisions were issued on 12,787 local and 127 major applications during 2021/22.
- The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during 2021/22 was 17.2 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represents a decrease of 0.6 weeks from the previous financial year. Two of the 11 councils met the 15 week target in 2021/22.
- The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during 2021/22 was 49.8 weeks across all councils. This represents a decrease of 11.6 weeks compared with the previous financial year and exceeds the 30 week target by almost 20 weeks. One of the 11 councils met the 30 week target in 2021/22.
- Across councils 70.4% of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks during 2021/22. This represents an increase from the rate reported in 2020/21 (69.9%) and meets the statutory target of 70%. Individually, eight of the 11 councils met the target in 2021/22.
Notes to editors:
Background to Northern Ireland Planning Statistics 2021/22 Annual Statistical Bulletin.
- This is the latest in a regular series of statistical bulletins related to Development Management (Planning) functions. The Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 sets out the legislative framework for development management and provides that, from 1 April 2015, councils now largely have responsibility for this planning function. This is the seventh annual statistical bulletin to report on activity and performance since the transfer of planning functions occurred. This statistical bulleting reports on performance in 2021/22 (1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022) with comparisons provided for the previous year.
- A new classification hierarchy for planning applications came into effect on 1 April 2014 in advance of the transfer of planning functions to local government from 1 April 2015. The development categories are – major and local development applications, processed primarily by councils, and regionally significant development applications, processed within the Department for Infrastructure. Note that the ‘major development’ category is based on a completely different definition to the previous ‘major’ category so figures relating to this category should not be compared with those from earlier bulletins (i.e. pre-2014/15).
- There are three legislative performance targets covered in the report related to the processing of local development decisions within an average of 15 weeks; major development decisions within an average of 30 weeks; and processing 70% of enforcement cases to target conclusion within 39 weeks.
- The final records of all applications from 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022 were transferred in April 2022 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were prepared for publication. These annual figures are now regarded as ‘final’ and will not be subject to further scheduled revisions.
Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying data tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible. The quarterly figures for the 2021/22 year are now final and will not be subject to further scheduled revision.
- Following an independent assessment by the UK Statistics Authority, the NI Planning Statistics report received National Statistics accreditation in December 2020, demonstrating that it meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.
- Electronic copies of the bulletin, associated data tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from the Department for Infrastructure website.
- This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.
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