Report backs ‘more ambitious’ compact growth targets in National Planning Framework

Report backs 'more ambitious' compact growth targets in National Planning Framework

Darragh O'Brien

The revised National Planning Framework (NPF) should include more ambitious compact growth targets, an expert group has recommended.

Three independent experts with experience of spatial planning, economic and social development and environmental protection were appointed by ministers to provide a high-level overview of the NPF and to identify matters to be considered in its first statutory revision.

The NPF was published in 2018 and the revision process is due to be completed in April 2024. The draft revision will be published for consultation in December 2023.

The expert group’s report recommends that the revision should build on the 2018 NPF and strengthen it in three broad respects:

  1. compact growth targets should be more ambitious and more clearly defined;
  2. the roles of the bodies involved in its implementation should be clarified and strengthened (particularly in relation to Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans) and mechanisms put in place for more detailed measurement and monitoring of its progress; and
  3. there should be greater coordination at whole of government level across all infrastructure projects (including the NDP) and new efforts made to generate broader support for national spatial planning across all of society.

The report has highlighted a total of thirteen recommendations, categorised generally under the headings of settlement strategy and compact growth; investment and prioritisation; implementation and monitoring; support measures for national spatial planning; and miscellaneous recommendations.

Housing minister Darragh O’Brien said: “This report is an important signpost in the first revision to the National Planning Framework and provides clarity on what should be the focus for this revision. I wish to thank the members of the expert group for their valuable contribution, expertise and commitment with this body of work.

“I am giving careful consideration to the recommendations of the expert group, as the revision process provides the opportunity to develop the national planning policy agenda to shape Ireland’s future growth and development in the years ahead.”

Kieran O’Donnell, minister of state for local government and planning, added: “In completing this report, the members of the expert group have undertaken a comprehensive review which will be instrumental in informing the debate and discussion with key stakeholder groups specifically established for the revision process, including the reconvened Planning Advisory Forum.

“I look forward to engaging with the Forum members on the Expert Group report and advancing to the next stage of the revision process over the coming weeks.”

The expert group’s report will now inform the preparation of an issues paper which is currently in development for stakeholder consultation.

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