The Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: Third Quarter 2019/20 Statistical Bulletin, has been published today

Date published: 19 March 2020

Provisional planning statistics for the third quarter of 2019/20 are now available. These data provide an overall view of planning activity.

DRD statistics publication

Alongside this there is 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.

The publication is available on the Department for Infrastructure website at:

The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics Third Quarter 2019/20 Statistical Bulletin are:

  • There were 3,003 planning applications received during the third quarter of 2019/20; an increase of over 2% on the previous quarter but down 6% compared with the same period a year earlier. This comprised 2,956 local and 47 major applications.
  • In the third quarter of 2019/20, 3,061 planning applications were decided upon; a decrease of just over 3% from the previous quarter but up by over 2% compared with the same period a year earlier. Decisions were issued on 3,029 local and 32 major planning applications during the third quarter of 2019/20.
  • In the first nine months of 2019/20 it took, on average, 14.0 weeks to process local applications to decision or withdrawal. This was within the 15 week target and represented an improvement of one week from the same period a year earlier. Seven of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target after three quarters of 2019/20.
  • The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first nine months of 2019/20 was 54.5 weeks across all councils. This represents an improvement of 0.8 weeks compared with the same point in 2018/19, but is still considerably higher than the 30 week target.
  • Across councils, over four-fifths (82%) of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks during the first nine months of 2019/20. This meets the statutory target of 70% and represents no change from the rate reported for same period in the previous year (82%). Individually, 10 of the 11 councils were within the 39 week target at the end of the third quarter of 2019/20.

Notes to editors: 

Background to Northern Ireland Planning Statistics Third Quarter 2019/20 Statistical Bulletin.

  1. 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 statistical bulletin reports on activity and performance for the third quarter of 2019/20 (1st October 2019 – 31st December 2019). Year-to-date processing performance for the full nine month period (1st April 2019 – 31st December 2019) is also provided.
  2. A new classification hierarchy for planning applications came into effect on 1st April 2014 in advance of the transfer of planning functions to local government from 1st 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).
  3. 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.
  4. The final records of all applications from 1st April 2019 – 31st December 2019 were transferred in February 2020 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were prepared for publication.  These figures are regarded as ‘provisional’ and will be subject to further scheduled revisions as further updates are made to records in the live database environment.  Finalised annual figures for 2019/20 will be released June / July 2020.

Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying Excel tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible.

  1. Electronic copies of the Bulletin, associated Excel tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from:
  2. Official Statistics
    This is an Official Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice at:

Additional Information

For more information relating to this publication, including additional analysis, breakdowns of data, or alternative formats please contact:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch,
Room 4.13c,
Clarence Court,
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,
Town Parks

For media enquiries please contact the DfI Press Office 028 9054 0007.

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