Efficient Planning Process
As greater investment in infrastructure is essential in coming years an efficient planning system for major infrastructure projects is crucial to ensure that existing businesses can expand and grow within Ireland. All planning decisions should be informed by evidence-based and strategic planning policies and planning processes must be reformed to ensure that large scale infrastructure and housing developments can be processed as efficiently as possible. The process of making a Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) application must be as efficient as possible in order to avoid lengthy and potentially costly delays. An Bord Pleanála should be empowered to ensure that SID applications with the greatest economic impact are prioritised to prevent local economic development being delayed.
National Planning Framework
Capital Investment in infrastructure is essential to ensure our future economic growth, but finance and investment are not enough to ensure the timely delivery and achievement of maximum benefit of infrastructure projects. The failure to implement the 2002 National Spatial Strategy created a policy vacuum and an absence of strategic planning for all regions of Ireland. Ireland needs a robust National Planning Framework to ensure that capital investment and infrastructure plans are implemented through best practice planning. A National Planning Framework must be delivered in 2016 to provide a strategic context for the development of regional economic and spatial strategies. To ensure its success, there must also be political commitment, nationally and locally to the full implementation of a National Planning Framework.