Provisional planning statistics for the second quarter of 2018/19 are now available. These data provide an overall view of planning activity. 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 Second Quarter 2018/19 Statistical Bulletin are:
- There were 2,949 planning applications received during July to September 2018 (Q2), down by 9% on the previous quarter and over 8% on the same period a year earlier. This comprised 2,919 local and 30 major applications.
- During the second quarter of 2018/19, 3,071 planning applications were decided, an increase of 2% over the quarter but a decrease of over 1% when compared with the same period a year earlier.
- The average processing time for major applications during the first six months of 2018/19 was 58 weeks across all councils; down slightly from the 59 weeks reported for the same period last year. Average processing times for major planning applications are almost double the statutory processing time target of 30 weeks.
- The number of local planning applications received during Q2 2018/19 was 2,919, down by 9% on the previous quarter and over 8% on the same period last year. Across councils, Belfast City (390), Newry, Mourne and Down (336), and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (325) received the highest number of local planning applications during Q2 2018/19.
- In the first six months of 2018/19 it took councils, on average, 15 weeks to process local applications to decision or withdrawal; the same as the figure reported for the equivalent period last year. Five of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target during the first six months of 2018/19. The shortest average processing time for local applications was just over seven weeks in Mid and East Antrim, whilst the longest was just over 23 weeks in Causeway Coast and Glens.
- The number of enforcement cases opened during the second quarter of 2018/19 was 999; an increase of more than 6% over the quarter and nearly 17% when compared with the same period a year earlier. Across the councils, Belfast City (170) and Antrim and Newtownabbey (119) opened the largest number of cases in Q2.
- In the first six months of 2018/19 over four-fifths (81%) of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks. This is 11 percentage points above the statutory target and is six percentage points higher than the same period last year. At the mid-year point of 2018/19, eight of the 11 councils are on track to meet the target, with highs of 92% concluded within 39 weeks in Antrim and Newtownabbey, followed by 88% in Mid and East Antrim, and 86% in Lisburn and Castlereagh. Across all councils, the proportion of enforcement cases concluded ranged from a high of 92% to a low of 55%.
- The approval rate for all planning applications for the second quarter of 2018/19 was 94%, similar to the rate for the previous quarter and up slightly for the same quarter a year earlier. Second quarter approval rates varied across councils from 85% to 99%.
- There were 23 renewable energy applications received in Q2 2018/19, 16 more than the same period last year. During Q2 2018/19, 18 renewable applications were decided and three withdrawn. The average processing time for these applications was just over 32 weeks in Q2; down from almost 88 weeks in the same quarter last year.
Notes to editors:
Background to Northern Ireland Planning Statistics Second Quarter 2018/19 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 statistical bulletin reports on activity and performance for second quarter of 2018/19 (1st July 2018 – 30th September 2018). Year-to-date processing performance for the full six month period (1st April 2018 – 30th September 2018) is also provided.
- 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 by councils, and regionally significant development applications processed within the Department. 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 1st April 2018 – 30th September 2018 were transferred in November 2018 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 2018/19 will be released at the end of June 2019.
Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying Excel tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible.
- Electronic copies of the Bulletin, associated Excel tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from:
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:
For further information please contact:Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch,
Department for Infrastructure,
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