Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (616)

Martin Heydon

Question:

616. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to have an annual review of the regional spatial and economic strategy for the eastern and midlands area to allow for changes and additional inclusions into the strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49985/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The making, implementation and review of a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) is a function of the relevant Regional Assembly, in this case the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

In accordance with section 23 of the Planning and Development Act, the objective of a RSES is to provide a long-term strategic planning and economic framework for the development of the region that is consistent with the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the economic policies or objectives of the Government, and must be for a period of not less than 12 years and not more than 20 years.

Section 25A of the Planning and Development Act requires relevant specified public bodies, and each local authority within the regional assembly area, to prepare and submit a report to the regional assembly every 2 years, setting out progress made in supporting objectives, relevant to that body, of the Strategy.

Further to this, a regional assembly must prepare a monitoring report every 2 years to report on progress made in implementing its RSES, including in relation to actions specific to the relevant public bodies, and submit the report to the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC). Following consideration of the monitoring report, the Commission may make recommendations to the Minister in relation to relevant measures to further support the implementation of the RSES.

Section 26 of the Act provides that a regional assembly must undertake a review of its RSES not later than 6 years after making its strategy, and thereafter must review that strategy not less than once every 6 years. When so reviewing, a regional assembly may revoke the strategy or make a new RSES. Where a new strategy is made, it will be subject to the same procedures and public consultation process as provided for in the Act, and will supersede any previous RSES.

I am satisfied that there is sufficient in-built scope in the current statutory processes, including biannual reporting between the regional assemblies and relevant public bodies and local authorities in monitoring progress in relation to the implementation of the RSES, and the interaction between the county development plans and RSES, to take account of any changes that may be required to reflect and maintain appropriate planning and sustainable principles over the lifetime of the RSES.