Northern Ireland to review renewables planning policy

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Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has recently announced a review of the strategic planning policy on renewable and low carbon energy.

In announcing her decision Minister Mallon said:

“Addressing the climate emergency is one of my key priorities, as is supporting the economy and a green recovery from this pandemic. This review of renewable and low carbon energy development will also take account of the Executive’s emerging energy strategy.

“The planning system has played a key role to date in helping to achieve and exceed Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity target and I want to ensure that my Department’s regional planning policy remains up to date, robust and fit for purpose.”

As a key part of the policy review process, Minister Mallon has emphasised that there will be extensive engagement with stakeholders and the public to ensure that the new policy is up to date, fit for purpose and has the support of local communities.

Acknowledging the range of factors and contrasting opinions on this important topic, Minister Mallon said:

“The planning system is where different and opposing interests often meet and there will be opportunities as the review progresses to hear from everyone who has an interest in this policy area. I want to ensure regional planning policy for renewable and low carbon energy truly furthers sustainable development and delivers in the long term public interest.

The key challenge will be to facilitate renewable and low carbon energy development which is acceptable to our communities and also protects the environment.”

Currently around 50% of Northern Ireland’s electricity is generated from renewables, mostly from wind power.

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