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Irish Planning Institute says Current Legislation isn’t Workable

Gavin Lawlor, President of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI), has said that the priority of planners is to ensure that the Planning and Development Bill, currently passing through the Oireachtas, is workable for the long term, not to slow the legislative process down.

Addressing over 300 professionals from across the planning, construction and sustainability sectors at the Institute’s annual conference in Waterford on the progress of the Bill, he said, “In its current form this Bill is not fit for purpose. It will have a detrimental impact on citizen engagement in the planning process, and it proposes unrealistic timelines, guidelines and compliance, making aspects of the Bill unworkable.

“The IPI want to see a Bill that serves the needs of society and the common good for generations to come. We remain fully committed to working with the Minister, Minister of State, Department, Oireachtas members and all stakeholders to make sure this legislation is fit for purpose, and we look forward to seeing further revisions and amendments at Report Stage.”

Addressing his first Conference as President, Gavin Lawlor, who became head of the Institute in January also said his focus for the sector is establishing planners’ critical role in delivering climate action and sustainability.  Attracting more people to planning as a career and ensuring the profession provides a united front are also priorities of his tenure.

He added, “Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. Planners understand the issues of climate, biodiversity, demography and economic development but our voice risks being drowned out by those that don’t have a holistic understanding of these issues.

“Planners know how to ensure the housing and infrastructure we need is delivered for the benefit of the environment and society and we need to be more assertive about the skills and knowledge we bring.”

“To do this we have to work collaboratively. Much of this year’s conference programme is about building understanding across the planning, technology, construction and sustainability sectors but we also need to build understanding across the planning profession itself and break down barriers.“

Also, welcoming delegates to this year’s Conference Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Conway said, “This year’s conference will focus on planning for smart, sustainable, and competitive regions and cities, and it is our vision in Waterford City and County Council to make Waterford City ʻthe most liveable city in Irelandʼ where our growing population can sustainably live, work and play.

“The North Quays is a flagship sustainable urban regeneration project. The project creates the opportunity to develop a sustainable and exemplary city centre by connecting the north and south sides of the city and will reduce dependency on travel by private car and will increase the modal shift of journeys to walking and cycling, and further encourage this by the creation of high-quality public realm space. The overall North Quays project is a model for the proper integration of land use planning and transport planning which is critical to delivering the smart, sustainable and competitive cities needed to meet our future challenges.”

He added, “Waterford City and County Council, in partnership with the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund and other stakeholders, is also investing in the regeneration of the heart of the historic city centre, while investment in the sustainable regeneration of Waterford’s towns and villages is also continuing with the support of the Rural Regeneration Development Fund.”

Among those addressing the IPI Conference this year is Peter Mullan, new chair of An Bord Pleanála who gave the keynote address this morning (Thursday) while the conference will also be addressed by Michael Flood from the OECD.

(Source: Waterford County Council)

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