Planning statistics for the period April 2022 – March 2023 are now available.
These data provide an overall view of planning activity. Alongside this there is a summary of council performance across two of the statutory targets, for major development applications and local development applications, 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: 2022/23 Annual Statistical Bulletin are:
- During 2022/23, 11,217 planning applications were received; an 18% decrease from the previous financial year. This comprised 11,072 local, 144 major and one regionally significant application.
- A total of 10,771 planning applications were decided during 2022/23; a decrease of 17% from the previous financial year. Decisions were issued on 10,620 local, 150 major and one regionally significant application during 2022/23.
- The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during 2022/23 was 19.0 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represents an increase of 1.8 weeks from the previous financial year. Three of the 11 councils met the 15 week target in 2022/23.
- The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during 2022/23 was 57.8 weeks across all councils. This represents an increase of 8.0 weeks compared with the previous financial year and exceeds the 30 week target by almost 28 weeks. No council met the 30 week target in 2022/23.
- The number of enforcement cases concluded and corresponding processing times is not presented in this report. This information will be published later and users will be notified when available.
- During the last two years there have been some key events that will have impacted on planning activity and processing performance. These were the coronavirus pandemic with varying restrictions in place up until February 2022; the accessibility of the system for some users for a period during January and February 2022, and a significant change in IT planning systems with the development and implementation of two new planning systems in June and December 2022. All these factors should be borne in mind when interpreting these figures and when making comparisons with other time periods.
Notes to editors:
- 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 eighth annual statistical bulletin to report on activity and performance since the transfer of planning functions occurred. This statistical bulletin reports on performance in 2022/23 (1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023) 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 two legislative performance targets covered in the report relating to the processing of local development decisions within an average of 15 weeks; and major development decisions within an average of 30 weeks. The number of enforcement cases concluded and corresponding processing times (statutory target) is not presented in this report. This information will be published later and users will be notified when available.
- The final records of all applications from 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023 were transferred in May 2023 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were prepared for publication.
Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying data tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible. Application level data for 2022/23 are now finalised and will not be subject to further scheduled revision. Enforcement data for 2022/23 remains provisional and will be subject to a further revision once the full suite of enforcement data becomes available.
- 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.
- Official Statistics -This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.
For more information relating to this publication, including additional analysis, breakdowns of data, or alternative formats please contact:
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