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NI Department for Infrastructure bangs the drum for enforcement

Words: Roger Milne

The Department for Infrastructure has published an overview of planning enforcement responsibilities in Northern Ireland and the latest guidance following the transfer of most planning functions to district councils.

This guidance highlights the powers and responsibilities of a council and the reserve powers of the department, strategic policy relevant to planning enforcement and the requirement to comply with European Union legislation and associated enforcement regulations.

The department has also issued four enforcement Practice Notes.

These are designed to guide planning officers and relevant users through planning enforcement processes and deal primarily with procedures as well as good practice.

The department stressed: “A fundamental element of the planning system is the range of powers available to councils to enforce planning control. However, such powers are only useful if they are used effectively by planning authorities.

“Effective enforcement is therefore essential to ensure that the credibility and integrity of the planning system is not undermined.”

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