I propose to take Questions Nos. 449 , 450 and 453 together.
The 2002 National Spatial Strategy (NSS) is Ireland’s first national strategic spatial planning framework providing the spatial vision and principles to achieve a better balance of social, economic and physical development and population growth between regions. It serves as a strategic context for spatial planning in Ireland by regional authorities in their regional planning guidelines role, for planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála in their statutory planning functions, and by influencing investment priorities particularly in transport, housing, water services, communications, energy, health and education infrastructure.
The 2002 NSS remains in place, including its focus on developing the Gateway and Hub locations. However, together with Minister Hogan, I will be bringing proposals to Government later this year for a road map to develop a successor strategy. This will take account of the report of the Mahon Tribunal which recommended that the NSS be given a statutory footing in both its preparation and implementation.
I expect the successor to maintain the key principles of the current NSS but to be different in terms of focus and content given that the Regional Planning Guidelines now provide the well-established framework for articulating the NSS at regional level. The key principle of an evidence-based plan-led approach will remain in order to provide the foundation for proper planning and sustainable development, and maximising the role of a successor NSS in supporting overall economic recovery for our country, regions, counties, cities, towns and rural areas.