Publication of the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: 2018/19 Annual Statistical Bulletin

Date published: 20 June 2019

Planning statistics for 2018/19 are now available. These data provide an overall view of planning activity.

Publication of Travel Survey for Northern Ireland 2012-2014 headline report

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:

Key points:

The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics 2018/19 Annual Statistical Bulletin are:

  • There were 12,541 planning applications received during 2018/19, a 3% decrease from the previous financial year. This comprised 12,404 local and 137 major applications.
  • During 2018/19, 12,156 planning applications were decided, a decrease of over 1% from the previous financial year.
  • In 2018/19 it took, on average, 14.8 weeks to process local applications to decision or withdrawal. This was within the 15 week target and represented an improvement of 0.4 weeks from the previous financial year. Individually, five of the 11 councils met the 15 week target in 2018/19.
  • The average processing time for major applications was 59 weeks across all councils in 2018/19, almost double the 30 week target and an increase of almost nine weeks from the previous financial year. Individually, three councils met the 30 week target in 2018/19.
  • Four in every five (81%) enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks in 2018/19; 11 percentage points higher than the statutory target of 70% and four percentage points higher than the rate for the previous financial year. Individually, nine of the 11 councils met the target in 2018/19.

Notes to editors: 

  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 is the fourth annual statistical bulletin to report on activity and performance since the transfer of planning functions occurred.  This statistical bulletin reports on activity and performance in 2018/19 (1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019) with comparisons provided for the previous year.
  2. 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 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 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019 were transferred in May 2019 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 revision.
  5. Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying Excel tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible. The quarterly figures for the 2018/19 year are now final and will not be subject to further scheduled revision.
  6. Electronic copies of the Bulletin, associated Excel tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from:
  7. This is an Official Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice at:
  8. 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,
       Belfast, BT28GB. 
  1. For media enquiries please contact the DfI Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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