What is the National Planning Framework?
Information Leaflet (Click to enlarge)
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is leading the preparation of the National Planning Framework, or ‘NPF’, on behalf of Government, with input from other Departments and Agencies. It will be particularly relevant where there is a long term and place-based aspect to public policy and investment, including areas such as housing, jobs, transport, education, health, environment, energy and communications.
One of the principal purposes of preparing the NPF will be to co-ordinate all of these specific departmental or ‘sectoral’ areas into an overall strategy. This will allow shared national development goals, including improved living standards, quality of life, prosperity, competitiveness and environmental sustainability, to be more broadly considered. This will also provide greater clarity for private sector investment.
It is intended that the Ireland 2040 Plan will be a high-level document that will provide the framework for future development and investment in Ireland. It will be the overall Plan from which other, more detailed plans will take their lead, hence the title, National Planning ‘Framework’, including city and county development plans and regional strategies. The National Planning Framework will also have statutory backing.
The National Planning Framework will also be a tool to assist the achievement of more effective regional development. In order to ensure that positive outcomes arising from national growth can be shared by people throughout Ireland, the potential of all areas will need to be realised, relative to their capacity for sustainable development.
By looking ahead in a co-ordinated and strategic manner, the NPF will seek to identify how best to work towards all of these shared goals for the benefit of the Country as a whole. To ensure implementation, the Framework will need to credibly connect these goals to places.
Publications and Consultation Papers
A number of documents have been published to highlight the issues and choices we face in planning for Ireland’s future over the next 20 years.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Strategic Environmental Assessment is a process for evaluating, at the earliest appropriate stage, the environmental consequences of implementing plan / programme initiatives prepared by authorities at a national, regional or local level or which are prepared by an authority for adoption through legislative means. The purpose is to ensure that the environmental consequences of plans and programmes are assessed both during their preparation and prior to adoption. The SEA process also gives interested parties an opportunity to comment on the environmental impacts of the proposed plan or programme and to be kept informed during the decision making process.
The European Directive (2001/42/EC) on the Assessment of the Effects of Certain Plans and Programmes on the Environment (the SEA Directive), was transposed into national legislation in Ireland by the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 435/2004) and the Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 436/2004), as amended.
Under Article 3 of the Directive, an environmental assessment shall be carried out for plans and programmes, including those related to land use planning. The Department undertook SEA Screening in 2016 and determined that SEA of the NPF would be required (see to Section 3.1.1 for more information on the screening process). The next step in the SEA process requires definition of the scope and level of detail of the information to be included in the Environmental Report. A scoping report has been prepared and can be viewed here (link to scoping report).
In partnership with the All Island Research Observatory based at Maynooth University, the Department are utilising spatial mapping and analysis as part of the evidence base that will inform the National Planning Framework.
As part of this work, a National Planning Framework Map Viewer is being coordinated by AIRO where all mapping information related to the project will be accessible and viewed.
This viewer can be accessed here.