National Planning Framework Consultation

There is currently a consultation on what is effectively our national plan or future direction. It closes on November 10th so not much time left. For further information including where to send your submission follow this link.

I’ve extracted the “objectives” listed within it and here’s a link to the draft document.

1. Ireland 2040 – Our Land and National Planning Framework


  1. In addressing future change, Ireland will continue on a path of economic, environmental and social progress that will improve our prosperity, sustainability and well-being.
  2. Ensuring that Ireland’s many unique assets can be built upon, with an emphasis on improving economic output and stability as well as quality of life, environmental performance and the liveability of Dublin, our cities, towns and rural areas.
  3. Setting out likely future change in Ireland and the spatial pattern required for effective and co-ordinated investment in a range of sectors to best accommodate and support that change.
  4. Putting in place a strategy for the sustainable development of places in Ireland and how that can be achieved, through planning, investment and implementation.

2. A New Way Forward

National Policy Objective 1a

The projected level of population and jobs growth in the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly area would be at least matched by that of Northern and Western and Southern Regional Assembly areas combined.

National Policy Objective 1b

Eastern and Midland Region: a targeted 475,000 – 500,000 (0.475-0.5m) additional people, i.e. a population of around 2.8 million;

Northern and Western Region: a targeted 150,000 – 175,000 (0.15-0.175m) additional people, i.e. a population of around 1 million;

Southern Region: a targeted 350,000 – 375,000 (0.35-375m) additional people, i.e. a population of almost 2 million.

National Policy Objective 1c

Eastern and Midland Region: around 330,000 (0.33m) additional jobs, i.e. at least 1.33 million in total;

The Northern and Western Region: around 110,000 (0.11m) additional jobs, i.e. at least 450,000 (0.45m) in total;

The Southern Region: around 220,000 (0.22m) additional jobs, i.e. at least 880,000 (0.88m) in total.

National Policy Objective 2a 

Population and jobs growth will generally be aligned to occur within the same functional area, whether a city or town catchment or all or part of one or more adjoining local authority area(s), on a coordinated basis through the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) and City and County Development processes.

National Policy Objective 2b

At least half (50%) of future population and jobs growth will be focused in the  five Cities and their immediately adjoining suburbs with a target of around two-thirds (66%) to be focused in the cities and their suburbs together with a number of large regionally distributed towns and their environs to be identified through the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) process.

National Policy Objective 2c

Accessibility to the north-west of Ireland and between centres of scale separate from Dublin will be improved, focused on cities and larger regionally distributed centres and on key east- west and north-south routes.

National Policy Objective 3a

Deliver at least 40% of all new homes nationally, within the built-up envelope of existing urban settlements12

National Policy Objective 3b 

At least half (50%) of all new homes in the  five Cities and immediately adjoining suburban areas of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford would be delivered within the built-up envelope of existing urban settlements1.

National Policy Objective 3c 

In areas other than the  five City and suburban areas of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, at least 30% of all new homes would be delivered within the built-up envelope of existing urban settlements14

3. Making Stronger Urban Place

National Policy Objective 4 

Ensure the creation of attractive, liveable, well designed, high quality urban places that are home to diverse and integrated communities that enjoy a high quality of life and well-being

National Policy Objective 5

Develop cities and towns of sufficient scale and quality to compete internationally and to be drivers of national and regional growth and investment.

National Policy Objective 6 

Support regeneration of cities, towns and villages of all types and scale in order to accommodate changing roles and functions and enhanced levels of amenity and design in order to exert a positive in influence on their surrounding area.

National Policy Objective 7

Strengthen all levels of Ireland’s urban structure, with a particular focus on:

Our Capital, Dublin.

The four Cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

Large towns (>10,000 population) located outside the  ve city regions16 and particularly in the northern and western region.

Small towns (<10,000 population) located outside the  ve city regions in conjunction with their surrounding rural areas17

National Policy Objective 7a

To achieve sustainable national growth in urban and rural areas, a National Smart Growth initiative will be put in place to support development and to leverage both public and private investment, as part of the ten year capital investment plan.

National Policy Objective 8

Ensure that the targeted pattern of population growth of Ireland’s cities and large towns to 2040 is proportionate, in accordance with the targets set out in Table 3.1.

National Policy Objective 9a

Regional and Local Authorities will identify and quantify locations for strategic employment growth in the cities identified on Table 3.1.

National Policy Objective 9b

Regional and Local Authorities will identify and quantify locations for employment growth, where suitable, in urban areas generally.

National Policy Objective 10

There will be a presumption in favour of development that encourages more people, jobs and activity within existing urban areas, subject to development meeting appropriate planning standards and achieving targeted growth.

National Policy Objective 11

In urban areas, planning and related standards, including in particular building height and car parking will be based on performance criteria enabling alternative solutions that seek to achieve well-designed high quality and safe outcomes in order to achieve targeted growth and that protect the environment.

National Policy Objective 12 

In urban areas, active land management will be applied to identify a range of opportunities to achieve targeted growth, up to and including the establishment of special purpose vehicles such as a national land development agency and seeking to broaden the applicability of compulsory purchase legislation to enable urban development in certain circumstances, to ensure the development infill and brownfield lands in the most sustainable economic and environmental manner possible.

4.  Planning for Diverse Rural Places

National Policy Objective 13 

Protect and promote the quality, character and distinctiveness of the Irish landscape, the sense of place and culture that make Ireland’s rural areas authentic and attractive as places to live, work and visit. The Action Plan for Rural Development up to and including 2021 supports this objective and thereafter a review of the Action Plan for Rural Development is to be undertaken to ensure alignment and consistency with the National Policy Objectives of this Framework.

National Policy Objective 14

Ensure that the targeted population growth of Ireland’s small towns and rural areas to 2040 is proportionate, at a targeted average rate of 15% in each Regional Assembly area, to be applied regionally through the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy process and locally through County Development Plans.

National Policy Objective 15

Target the reversal of rural decline in the core of small towns and villages through sustainable targeted measures that address vacancy and deliver sustainable reuse and regeneration outcomes.

National Policy Objective 16

Enhance, integrate and protect the special physical, social, economic and cultural value of built heritage assets through appropriate and sensitive use now and for future generations.

National Policy Objective 17a

Support the proportionate growth of and appropriately designed development in rural towns that will contribute to their regeneration and renewal, including interventions in the public realm, the provision of amenities, the acquisition of sites and the provision of services.

National Policy Objective 17b

Develop a programme for ‘new homes in small towns and villages’ with local authorities, public infrastructure agencies such as Irish Water and local communities, to provide serviced sites with appropriate infrastructure to attract people to build their own homes and live in small towns and villages.

National Policy Objective 18a 

Ensure, in providing for the development of rural housing that a distinction is made between areas under urban influence i.e. areas within the  five city regions and the hinterland of towns, and elsewhere and that the standardised EU/OECD definition of a city region shall be applied to identify the urban influence of cities and large towns (>10,000), with influence of smaller (>10,000) towns determined locally.

National Policy Objective 18b

In rural areas under urban influence, to facilitate the provision of single housing in the countryside based on the core consideration of demonstrable economic need to live in a rural area and relevant siting criteria for rural housing in statutory guidelines and plans.

National Policy Objective 19

Project need for single housing in the countryside through the local Housing Need Demand Assessment (HNDA) tool and county development plan core strategy processes.

National Policy Objective 20

Enhance the competitiveness of rural areas by supporting innovation in rural economic development and enterprise through the sustainable diversification of the rural economy into new sectors and in particular those with a low or zero carbon output.

National Policy Objective 21

Facilitate the development of the rural economy through supporting a sustainable and economically efficient agricultural and food sector, together with forestry,  fishing and aquaculture and diversification into alternative on-farm and off-farm activities, while at the same time noting the importance of maintaining and protecting the natural landscape and built heritage which are vital to rural tourism.

National Policy Objective 22

Support and facilitate delivery of the National Broadband Plan as a means of developing further opportunities for enterprise, employment, education, innovation and skills development for those who live and work in rural areas.

National Policy Objective 23

Facilitate the development of a National Greenways/Blueways Strategy which prioritises projects on the basis of achieving maximum impact and connectivity at national and regional level.

National Policy Objective 24

Working together with the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, establish a mechanism to co-ordinate structures for funding rural development that can align with Ireland 2040 and other national strategies

5. People Homes and Communities

National Policy Objective 25

Facilitate the promotion and creation of sustainable community development and support community organisations in their work to provide for a more sustainable future.

National Policy Objective 26

Support the objectives of public health policy including Healthy Ireland and the National Physical Activity Plan, though integrating such policies, where appropriate and at the applicable scale, with planning policy.

National Policy Objective 27

Manage the efficient use of water and wastewater resources in a sustainable way that delivers an adequate supply of safe public drinking water to citizens, supports economic growth and preserves our environment.

National Policy Objective 28

Ensure the integration of safe and convenient alternatives to the car into the design of our communities, by integrating physical activity facilities for all ages, particularly prioritising walking and cycling accessibility to both existing and proposed future development, in all settlements.

National Policy Objective 29

Local planning, housing, transport/accessibility and leisure policies will be developed with a focus on meeting the needs and opportunities of an ageing population along with the inclusion of specific projections supported by clear proposals in respect of ageing communities as part of the core strategy of city and county development plans.

National Policy Objective 30

Plan for a more diverse and socially inclusive society that targets equality of opportunity and a better quality of life to all citizens, through improved integration and greater accessibility in the delivery of sustainable communities and the provision of associated services.

National Policy Objective 31

Facilitate fostering and protecting the Irish language, particularly within Gaeltacht regions.

National Policy Objective 32

Prioritise the alignment of targeted and planned population and employment growth with investment in:

  • The provision of early childhood care and education (ECCE) facilities and new and refurbished schools on well-located sites within or close to existing built-up areas, that meet the diverse needs of local populations.
  • The expansion and consolidation of third level facilities at locations where this will contribute to regional development.
  • Programmes for life-long learning, especially in areas of higher education and further education and training where skills gaps are identified.

National Policy Objective 33

Target the delivery of 550,000 additional households up to 2040 in accordance with the policy objectives of Ireland 2040.

National Policy Objective 34

Prioritise the provision of new homes at sustainable locations and at an appropriate scale relative to location.

National Policy Objective 35

Implement measures to reduce vacancy and to progressively target the reduction of the national housing vacancy rate to 5% by 2040 (currently 9.15%).

National Policy Objective 36

Support the provision of lifetime adaptable homes that can accommodate the changing needs of a household over time.

National Policy Objective 37

Increase residential density in settlements, through a range of measures including reductions in vacancy, re-use of existing buildings, infill development schemes, area or site-based regeneration and increased building heights.

National Policy Objective 38

New statutory guidelines, supported by wider methodologies and data sources, will be put in place under Section 28 of the Planning Act to improve the evidence base, effectiveness and consistency of the planning process for housing provision at regional, metropolitan and local authority levels. This will be supported by the provision of standardised requirements by regulation for the recording of planning and housing data by the local authorities in order to provide a consistent and robust evidence base for housing policy formulation

National Policy Objective 39

A ‘Housing Need Demand Assessment’ (HNDA) is to be undertaken for each Local Authority Area in order to correlate and accurately align future housing requirements. The HNDA is:

  • to be undertaken by Local Authorities with coordination assistance to be provided by the Regional Assemblies, particularly where inter- county and inter-regional settlement interactions are to be planned for and managed;
  • to primarily inform housing policies, housing strategies and associated land use zoning policies as well as assisting in determining where new policy areas or investment programmes are to be developed,
  • and to be supported, through the establishment of a coordination and monitoring unit to assist Local Authorities and Regional Assemblies in the development of the HDNA (DHPCLG, Regional Assemblies and the Local Authorities). This will involve developing and coordinating a centralised spatial database for Local Authority Housing data that supports the HNDA being undertaken by Local Authorities.

6.1 | Integrated Land and Maritime Planning

National Policy Objective 40

Regional and local development plans will take account of and integrate relevant maritime spatial planning issues

National Policy Objective 41

Support the growth and development of the maritime economy, particularly in remote coastal communities and islands

National Policy Objective 42

Ensure that the strategic development requirements of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Ports are considered and addressed as part of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) and that any concurrent or subsequent metropolitan area or city/county development plans and strategic plans for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 ports are aligned to ensure the effective growth and sustainable development of the city regions.

National Policy Objective 43a

Ensure that Ireland’s coastal resource is managed to sustain its physical character and environmental quality.

National Policy Objective 43b

In line with the collective aims of national policy regarding climate adaptation, to address the effects of sea level changes and coastal  flooding and erosion and to support the implementation of adaptation responses in vulnerable areas.

National Policy Objective 44

Support, within the context of the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP)26 and its successors, the progressive development of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy potential, including domestic and international grid connectivity enhancements.

7. Working with our Neighbours

National Policy Objective 45

Work with the relevant Departments in Northern Ireland for mutual advantage in areas such as spatial planning, economic development and promotion, co-ordination of social and physical infrastructure provision and environmental protection and management.

National Policy Objective 46

In co-operation with relevant Departments in Northern Ireland, to further support and promote the sustainable economic potential of the Dublin-Belfast Corridor and enhance its international visibility.

National Policy Objective 47

Promote the development of the North West City Region as interlinked areas of strategic importance in the North-West of Ireland, through collaborative structures and a joined- up approach to spatial planning.

National Policy Objective 48

Support enhanced public transport connectivity between large urban areas in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

National Policy Objective 49

Strengthen all-island energy infrastructure and interconnection capacity to enhance security of electricity supply.

National Policy Objective 50

Develop a stable, innovative and secure digital communications and services infrastructure on an island basis.

National Policy Objective 51

Support the coordination and promotion of all-island tourism initiatives through continued cooperation between the relevant tourism agencies and Tourism Ireland.

National Policy Objective 52

Ensuring effective management of shared landscapes, heritage, water catchments, habitats, species and trans-boundary issues in relation to environmental policy

National Policy Objective 53

In co-operation with the United Kingdom Government and devolved Governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Ireland will support mutually beneficial development in the areas of spatial and infrastructure planning and other related areas.

8 Realising our Sustainable Future

National Policy Objective 54

That the planning system is responsive to our national environmental challenges and ensures that development occurs within environmental limits having regard to the requirements of all relevant environmental legislation and promotes the sustainable management of our natural capital.

National Policy Objective 55

Support the circular and bio economy through greater efficiency in renewable resources and land management and by reducing the rate of land use change from urban sprawl and new development.

National Policy Objective 56

Reduce our carbon footprint by integrating climate action into the planning system in support of national targets for climate policy mitigation and adaptation objectives as well as targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

National Policy Objective 57

Promote renewable energy generation at appropriate locations within the built and natural environment to meet objectives towards a low carbon economy by 2050.

National Policy Objective 58

Ensure  flood risk management informs place making by avoiding inappropriate development in areas at risk of  flooding and integrate sustainable water management solutions (such as SUDS, non-porous surfacing and green roofs) to create safe places in accordance with the Planning System and Flood Risk Assessment Guidelines for Local Authorities.

National Policy Objective 59

Promote the integration of Green Infrastructure (GI) and ecosystem services including landscape, heritage and biodiversity in the preparation of statutory land use plans.

National Policy Objective 60

Sustainably manage the quality of our water resources to support and deliver the growth strategy for Ireland 2040 and a healthy society

National Policy Objective 61

Improve air quality and help prevent people being exposed to unacceptable levels of pollution in our urban and rural areas through integrated land use and spatial planning that supports public transport, walking and cycling as more favourable modes of transport to the private car, the promotion of energy efficient buildings and homes, green infrastructure planning and innovative design solutions.

National Policy Objective 62

Promote the pro-active management of noise where it would have significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life and support the aims of the Environmental

Noise Regulations through national planning guidance and Noise Action Plans.

9. Investing in 2040 – Implementation

 National Policy Objective 63

Provision will be made for metropolitan area strategic plans to be prepared for the Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford Metropolitan areas and in the case of Dublin and Cork, to also address the wider city region, by the appropriate authorities in tandem with and as part of the relevant RSES.

National Policy Objective 64

Provision will be made for urban area plans for larger towns and their environs with a population of more than 15,000 people. Provision will also be made for joint urban area plans and joint local area plans where a town and environs lies within the combined functional area of more than one local authority.

National Policy Objective 65

City/county development plan core strategies shall comprehensively identify, co-ordinate and balance targeted population and housing growth in cities, large and small towns, rural settlements and in the open countryside for the relevant planning authority area and this will be supported by a standardised methodology for the preparation of core strategies.

National Policy Objective 66 

Statutory arrangements between spatial and transport planning in the Greater Dublin Area will be extended to other cities

National Policy Objective 67 

  • Planning authorities will be required to apply a standardised, tiered approach to differentiate between i) zoned land that is available for development, ii) zoned land that requires further specified investment in basic infrastructural services for development to be realised and iii) zoned land unlikely to be serviced within the life of the relevant plan.
  • When considering zoning land for development purposes that requires further investment in basic infrastructural services, planning authorities will make a reasonable estimate of the full cost of delivery of the specified services and identify the responsible delivery agency(ies);
  • When considering zoning land for development purposes that is unlikely to be serviced within the life of the relevant plan, planning authorities will review the status of such lands.

National Policy Objective 68

  • When zoning land for development, planning authorities will apply a specified standardised approach in establishing an order of priority for development of land taking account of proper planning and sustainable development, and in the case of adjoining interdependent landholdings, evidence of landholder commitment to necessary co-operation to release lands for development.
  • Planning authorities will use compulsory purchase powers to facilitate the delivery of enabling infrastructure to prioritised zoned lands, to accommodate planned growth.
  • Infrastructure delivery agencies will focus on the timely delivery of enabling infrastructure to priority zoned lands in order to deliver planned growth and development.

National Policy Objective 69

A more effective strategic and centrally managed approach will be taken to realise the development potential of the overall portfolio of state owned and/or influenced lands in the  five main cities and potentially other major urban areas as a priority.

10. Assessing Environmental Impact

National Policy Objective 70

Ensure that all plans, projects and activities requiring consent arising from the National Planning Framework are subject to the relevant environmental assessment requirements including SEA, EIA and AA as appropriate.


Theresa O’Donohoe October 2017

NPF draft cover-page-001

Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: