‘Toxic’ Northern Ireland planning bill dumped over judicial review concerns

The threat of severely restricted rights of challenge to government planning decisions has been lifted

The draft Northern Ireland Planning Bill has been abandoned by environment minister Mark Durkan because legal advice suggested it would have been in breach of EU nature directives and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Durkan told the Northern Ireland Assembly on 22 October that the “toxic” draft bill would have exposed the executive to the risk of infraction proceedings from the European Commission, according to legal advice from an “eminent QC” received by his department.

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