McGlone welcomes review of Rural Planning

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SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has welcomed a commitment from the Environment Minister, party colleague Alex Attwood, to ensure future consistency of interpretation of Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 21. The comments by the Minister came during question time in the Assembly.

Speaking afterwards, Mr McGlone said, “I welcome the Minister’s commitment to ensuring consistency of interpretation of PPS 21 and that the good practice and flexibility of some planning offices will be applied in all.

“I await the publication of the conclusions of the review of PPS 21 to see the detail of what will be proposed. The Minister has said that is expected to be available in the next two or three weeks. It is important that rural communities are looked after in this policy, as the previous policies have largely ignored their needs and the rural way of life.

“The Minister also acknowledged that lessons have been learnt from the problems experienced during the Magherafelt pilot study by the Environment Agency on compliance issues with septic tanks. Local SDLP Councillor Kate Lagan was at the forefront of those highlighting the problems caused by the heavy-handed approach of the Department.

“The Minister has confirmed that the Department has adopted a more proportionate response to managing the issue as a result and that is to be welcomed.”