“at which point there will be full public consultation for four months..”

It might not be as intensely emotive an issue as education but, given the DUP’s recent difficulties with perceived links to certain developers, producing outline replacement proposals for PPS14 – itself the subject of legal challenges – and the wider issue of rural planning could have been a potential political minefield. Interesting to compare and contrast the more relaxed and open performance by Northern Ireland Environment Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, in the studio on Stormont Live yesterday with that of her Executive colleague, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane on the same programme. Having established an Executive sub-Committee to develop those outline proposals the Environment minister seems to be emerging on much surer political ground.

Possibly more evidence of the benefit of seeking political consensus first in the following studio debate with Environment Committee Chairman, the SDLP’s Patsy McGlone, and a representative of lobby group, Friends of the Earth.

It’s also worth noting that the outline proposals have yet to be finalised.

Arlene Foster said that her sub-committee was making good progress and is on track to make recommendations to the Executive Committee so that a revised draft PPS14 can be published with immediate effect at the end of April, at which point there will be full public consultation for four months.

Update I’ve added the correct second video above.

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  • slug

    While I was initiallysuspicious of her, I agree that Foster seems to be aiming for consensus and working with all the interest groups, which then leads on to a more assured and open style when presenting her ideas to the media.

  • The__Raven

    I don’t think PPS14 will disappear the way everyone thought it would.

    I’m glad to see this topic up, but as I have to be elsewhere, I have to be quick and wildly simplistic:
    – we’re running out of countryside;
    – the virus that is our increasing local population cannot simply be allowed to run amok over the remaining green space that we have;
    – things are in a poor state of affairs when megafauna like hedgehogs and starlings become red-listed;
    – the dreamy life of “letting rural people live in rural areas” is just no longer sustainable;
    – somebody needs to take the second-home brigade and the army of speculators to task too;
    – services cost more in a rural area – and therefore they cost us ALL more – the pot is only so big;
    – increased building in the countryside leads to a more car-reliant society; government NEVER stumps up the fare for full public transport

    I ain’t pitching for some rural idyll. But I am pitching for sensible, sustainable development of existing sites. And let’s face it: this whole island has failed miserably when it comes to that. Here’s hoping Arlene has the cojones to face down the Sweeneys of this region, and let us show the UK and Ireland the way forward.

    (runs off to avoid nay-sayers)

  • slug

    I am 100% with you Raven. Protect rural countryside.