Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (164)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

164 Mr. O'Dowd asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he intends to change the planning regulations in relation to one-off housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2587/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Overall Government policy on one-off rural housing is set out in the national spatial strategy, NSS, which was published in November 2002. The rural settlement policy framework contained in the NSS aims to sustain and renew established rural communities, while strengthening the structure of villages and smaller settlements to support local economies, ensuring that key assets in rural areas are protected to support quality of life and ensuring also that rural settlement policies are responsive to the differing local circumstances in different areas.

It is vitally important that there is certainty and consistency in the implementation by planning authorities of Government policy in this matter through their own development plans and in the operation of the development control system under planning legislation. This is the purpose of the guidelines under the Planning and Development Act which I intend to bring forward to deal with this issue. These are at an advanced stage of preparation and I hope to issue them as soon as possible.