Northern Ireland

Environment Minister Mark Durkan proposes reform to speed planning

Changes to Northern Ireland's planning system are being proposed, in a bid to deliver quicker decisions.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan outlined reform measures during a speech in Belfast.

He wants a "shorter and simplified" process, but one that will not put business and the environment "at loggerheads".

His policy proposals came after he withdrew the Planning Bill last October, amid claims it was unlawful.

He said his new plan will create a system that is "fair, fast and fit for purpose".

It will include reducing 20 policy publications to just one and a "backlog blitz" of applications being held up by the involvement of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.