“Any such conflict will be avoided..”

Just noting this one for now. The Belfast Telegraph reports unease within the Department of Environment’s Planning Service about the minister’s “ongoing correspondence on individual [planning] cases.”

Concern has been expressed about avoiding potential conflict of interests, arising from Mr Wilson’s roles as both Environment Minister and constituency politician. But a DoE spokesman said: “As an MP and MLA, the Minister can raise issues around planning applications in his constituency with the Planning Service. “Planning files are open to the public and transparent. Any representation made by any constituency representative is openly recorded. “A conflict of interest would only arise where the Minister is involved in the final decision making process. Any such conflict will be avoided.”

Mr Wilson told the Belfast Telegraph: “It would be absurd, when planning is such a big issue, for an elected MP or elected MLA to be prevented from contacting planning officials. “I will not allow myself to be corralled in that way. I have a job to do.”

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  • ‘MLA/MP represents constituents and understands the limits’ shocka

    from Belfast Telegraph article

    “The Minister said it was “off limits” for him to raise planning applications that would eventually come to him for a final decision.”

    next…

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Did you *threaten* to overrule him?” Same with Mandelson and the passport scandal. Sometimes a polite enquiry is enough to suggest a preferred outcome and thereby place pressure on officials. What is it with the DUP and planning?

  • Stewartstown Harp

    Whats the difference between Sammy and Billy Armstrong and his daughter who were caught with no planning permission for his office and her beauty salon but still remains on the envirnoment committee.

  • “A conflict of interest would only arise where the Minister is involved in the final decision making process. Any such conflict will be avoided.”

    Unless it’s an Article 31 application:

    In practice, most Article 31 applications in the past have been dealt with by Notice of Opinion, indicating that the Department proposes to either grant or refuse planning permission. This is likely to remain the case in future.

    A ‘minded’ opinion by the, er, Minister?

  • Angry Planner

    Well what usually happens is that Sammy gets his little pet Anne Garvey, the Planning Service’s Director of Operations, who’s mantra is “We are here to push economic development not to protect the environment,” to intervene is his behalf.

  • The Raven

    Angry Planner – if there’s a place to put any evidence you have of Ms Garvey’s opinion, it’s here and now.

    And frankly, any evidence of an Environment Department shirking that protection responsibility, I’d love to see it.

  • Rapunsel

    Here’s one for you , the Crumlin against the incinerator campaign claimed today that Sammy Wilson supported them. But as far as I know his department is in advanced stages of planning implementation of incineration amongts other methods for future treatment of waste in Belfast and elsewhere?