Lo – Planning Bill debate should not have gone ahead

Alliance Environment spokesperson Anna Lo MLA has said a Planning Bill debate should not have gone ahead following amendments tabled by the DUP and Sinn Fein which could give OFMDFM extra powers to control development in designated areas. Her comments were made in the Assembly during the consideration stage of the bill.

Anna Lo MLA said:”I do not think the Environment Minister should have allowed this debate to go ahead.

“For the DUP and Sinn Fein to submit such substantial amendments, with such far-reaching consequences, right at the deadline for submission, is, in my opinion unacceptable.

“They are riding roughshod over the Assembly and indeed the environment sector who have not been consulted on this at all – and are deeply unhappy with it.

“I believe these amendments are not only undemocratic but also hugely arrogant. For two parties to decide that one Department should hijack power from another – then have administrative support from the original Department, has truly left me lost for words.

“I support economic development, but these amendments would seriously damage the balance that we seek between environmental protection, social well-being and economic development in our planning system.

“There are serious questions to be asked where this Bill goes now.”


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