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.