An important milestone to ensure transfer of planning powers to the local councils was achieved in the Assembly today.
Commencement No 2 Order under the Planning Act was approved by the Assembly.
Welcoming Assembly backing for his legislation, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “This is an important milestone. Backing for this Order keeps on track the transfer of planning functions to the 11 new district councils for April 2015. It will help see power moving closer to local people with stronger councils with more responsibility and local accountability for planning. Local planning decisions and plans being made by councillors responding to local needs with local solutions.
“An enormous amount of work has been undertaken across the Department, local councils and a range of key stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. As part of the programme the DOE has provided practical and financial support to ensure the new councils have the capacity to effectively deliver the transferred service.
“Recent capacity building initiatives will equip councillors with the knowledge and skills to carry out their new role and to have the confidence, as well as the competence, to make sound planning decisions from day one.”