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Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:00 pm on 11th May 2009.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 1:00 pm, 11th May 2009

As I said in my earlier answer, the practical benefits are that the planners will have greater clarity and will, therefore, be able to make decisions with greater assurance. That will be particularly true of cases that are finely balanced. In future, when planning officers are wondering how to balance the environmental, social and economic considerations, they will have the full weight of the Executive and ministerial priority behind them, which will be helpful.

PPS 4 is another issue that is being held up at the Executive as it awaits the approval of the parties. In the past, I have made no bones about the fact that the process of receiving Executive clearance can be extremely difficult, even for some hugely important issues. Whether the issue is planning reform or PPS 14, those who delay the process must consider whether they are serving the economy of Northern Ireland.