Provisional planning statistics for the third quarter of 2021/22 are now available.
These data provide an overall view of planning activity. Alongside this there is a summary of council performance across the three statutory targets for major development applications, local development applications and enforcement cases as laid out in the Local Government (Performance Indicators and Standards) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015.
The publication is available on the Department for Infrastructure website.
The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: Third Quarter 2021/22 Statistical Bulletin are:
- Planning activity and processing performance in 2020/21 and the first three quarters of 2021/22 were impacted by the restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. This should be borne in mind and caution should be taken when interpreting these figures and when making comparisons with other time periods.
- There were 3,163 planning applications received during the third quarter of 2021/22; a decrease of nearly five percent on the previous quarter and down by nearly twelve percent on the same period a year earlier. This comprised 3,132 local, 30 major and one regionally significant application.
- In the third quarter of 2021/22, 3,238 planning applications were decided upon; down by nearly one percent from the previous quarter but up by over eight percent from the same period a year earlier. Decisions were issued on 3,206 local and 32 major applications during the most recent quarter.
- The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first nine months of 2021/22 was 16.8 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represents a decrease of 1.0 week from the same period a year earlier. Three of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target after the first nine months of 2021/22.
- The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first nine months of 2021/22 was 55.9 weeks across all councils. This represents a decrease of 5.9 weeks compared with the same period a year earlier but is still considerably higher than the 30 week target.
- Across councils over 70% of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks during the first nine months of 2021/22. This meets the statutory target of 70% and represents an increase from the rate reported for the same period in 2020/21 (69%). Individually, eight of the 11 councils were within target after the first nine months of 2021/22.
Notes to editors:
Background to Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: Third Quarter 2021/22 Statistical Bulletin.
- This is the latest in a regular series of statistical bulletins related to Development Management (Planning) functions. The Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 sets out the legislative framework for development management and provides that, from 1 April 2015, councils now largely have responsibility for this planning function. This statistical bulletin reports on activity and performance for the third quarter of 2021/22 (1 October 2021 – 31 December 2021). Year-to-date processing performance for the full nine month period (1 April 2021 – 31 December 2021) is also provided.
- A new classification hierarchy for planning applications came into effect on 1 April 2014 in advance of the transfer of planning functions to local government from 1 April 2015. The development categories are – major and local development applications, processed primarily by councils, and regionally significant development applications, processed within the Department for Infrastructure. Note that the ‘major development’ category is based on a completely different definition to the previous ‘major’ category so figures relating to this category should not be compared with those from earlier bulletins (i.e. pre-2014/15).
- There are three legislative performance targets covered in the report related to the processing of local development decisions within an average of 15 weeks; major development decisions within an average of 30 weeks; and processing 70% of enforcement cases to target conclusion within 39 weeks.
- The final records of all applications from 1 April 2021 – 31 December 2021 were transferred in February 2022 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were prepared for publication. These figures are regarded as ‘provisional’ and will be subject to further scheduled revisions as further updates are made to records in the live database environment. Finalised annual figures for 2021/22 will be released in July 2022.
Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying data tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible.
- Following an independent assessment by the UK Statistics Authority, the NI Planning Statistics report received National Statistics accreditation in December 2020, demonstrating that it meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.
- Electronic copies of the bulletin, associated data tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from the Department for Infrastructure website.
- This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.
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