The first round of consultation for the new National Planning Framework, the successor to the 2002 National Spatial Strategy, was launched by the Government on 2nd February 2017. A new national plan is required to address the changes and challenges in population, employment and environment in Ireland up to 2040 which will include:
- A national population increase of approximately 1 million extra people, almost a quarter of whom will be over 65 by 2040;
- More than 500,000 additional people at work, many of whom will be in high skilled jobs in and around cities;
- At least 500,000 extra homes needing to be close to services and amenities; and
- Major environmental challenges
It is envisaged that the new National Planning Framework will set a new strategic planning and development context for Ireland and all its regions in the period between now and 2040, setting a strategic, high level framework for the co-ordination of a range of national, regional and local authority policies and activities, planning and investment.
The Issues and Choices paper for 2040 has been issued as part of the public consultation phase and it acknowledges that Ireland has experienced a spatially uneven pattern of regional and urban development. In 2016 the Dublin City Region accounted for 40% of the national population and 49% of economic output. It is noted that the continuation this ‘lop-sided’ pattern of development is neither beneficial to Dublin nor the Country as a whole. Consequently, under the heading a ‘Place Making Strategy’ the new National Planning Framework points to potential within Ireland's regional cities, regional development, the potential of rural Ireland, Ireland in an all-island context and realising opportunities for integrated land and marine development.
Implementation of the new National Planning Framework, through legislative support and wider political and institutional commitment is flagged as being central to ensuring success.
Full details are available on www.Ireland2040.ie. Comments from the public and interested stakeholders are invited by March 16th, 2017. Following this initial public consultation period, a draft copy of the plan will be prepared and it is intended that this will be published to go back out on a second round of public consultation after Easter. It is intended that a final version of the framework will be submitted for the consideration of the Government and thereafter by the Oireachtais (as recommended by the Mahon Tribunal) later in 2017.