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Planning Policy Statement 15

Environment – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 26th January 2009.

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Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance 3:15 pm, 26th January 2009

6. asked the Minister of the Environment for an update on Planning Policy Statement 15.        (AQO 1885/09)

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Planning Policy Statement 15, which concerns planning and flood risk, was introduced in June 2006 and continues to provide effective and robust policy guidance on planning applications where the risk of flooding may be a consideration.

Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance

I thank the Minister for his brief answer; however, I am sure that he would argue that it contained all of the detail.

Members of the Planning Service who look at individual applications have raised a point with me on a number of occasions about the level at which they get useful information from Water Service, the Rivers Agency and others, that would help them make determinations about flooding.

Does the Minister have a view on the level of co-operation that is ongoing between those different services, and as to how that could be improved?

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 3:30 pm, 26th January 2009

Just before Christmas, I announced the launching of the Northern Ireland flood map, which gives a strategic picture of where the flooding risks are. That was welcomed by the Planning Service, and should be a valuable tool when it comes to considering planning applications. Historical data is available from NI Water which, again, should be of use to the Planning Service. That is supplemented by the information that public representatives and local people can provide.

Roads Service and NI Water should be capable of providing the additional information required around particular instances of flooding, which are sometimes caused by inadequate drainage or other problems. Whether that information is provided on every occasion, I cannot say. My concern is that those organisations are consulted by the Department — which they are. As to whether that information is provided quickly, I think that that is for other Departments to answer.