Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Éamon Ó Cuív and Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy MLA announced today that a joint consultation on a Framework for Collaboration on Spatial Strategies for the Island of Ireland will commence on Tuesday, 15 February for an 8-week period.

As the press release states: ‘The consultation document identifies key planning challenges faced by both jurisdictions and discusses the potential for collaboration in spatial planning. It sets out a non-statutory framework for collaboration at different levels within the public sector which should result in mutual benefits.’

It continues: ‘Welcoming the public consultation process, Minister Ó Cuív said: “The island of Ireland faces considerable challenges in building a sustained economic recovery in a future that will be increasingly dominated by globalisation. One of the ways the island will flourish will be through practical co-operation between north and south in meeting the planning, investment and environmental management needs of today in a way that will turn into the economic and job creation opportunities of tomorrow.

“I believe that the new Framework for Collaboration will deliver a real step-change in planning for this island, harnessing the complementary strengths of both rural and urban areas and delivering real mutual benefits at both a local border level and the larger island level. For example, more effective sharing of information between planning systems north and south on economic, housing, transport and environmental trends will enable a more joined-up approach to planning in border areas.

“Furthermore, the framework provides a mandate for practical co-operation on planning and infrastructure co-ordination within border areas and beyond.”

I should be clear to declare an interest in this.  NIRSA is a partner institution in the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) – along with University of Ulster, Centre for Cross Border Studies, and the International Institute of Urban Development (based in Boston) – which undertook the research and wrote the original framework report, which was commissioned in 2006 by InterTrade Ireland.  The research argued for a collaborative approach to spatial planning on the island of Ireland, and the advantages of joined up thinking on all-island basis in relation to planning and development, particularly in the context of globalisation and the need to enhance collective competitiveness.   As the press release says: ‘On the island of Ireland, creating a competitive and high quality environment for economic development through collaboration on strategic planning and infrastructure investment are key areas where Northern Ireland and Ireland share opportunities and challenges.’

The consultation document is available to view and download here. For those interested the original, longer report – Spatial Strategies on the Island of Ireland: Development of a Collaborative Action – published in 2007 it can be downloaded here (note: submissions are in relation to the consultation document which has come through several stages since, not the original report).

Submissions or comments on the consultative document should be sent to the contact address below by 11 April 2011.

Mr Eoin Bennis,
Planning System and Spatial Policy,
Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government,
Custom House,
Dublin 1.
Email: eoin.bennis@environ.ie

Rob Kitchin

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