Expert Group Report on the National Planning Framework Published

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, has welcomed the publication of the Expert Group Report in relation to the First Revision of the National Planning Framework (NPF).

The Expert Group, comprising three independent experts with experience of spatial planning, economic and social development and environmental protection, was established in March 2023. The Expert Group was requested by the Minister to provide a high-level overview of the NPF, published in 2018, and to identify matters to be considered in the first statutory revision of the NPF.

Government formally commenced the process to undertake the First Revision of the NPF in June 2023, and the process is due to be completed in April 2024.

The Expert Group’s Report summarised that the NPF Revision should build on the current NPF strategy and strengthen it in three broad respects:

  • Compact growth targets should be more ambitious and more clearly defined;
  • The roles of the bodies involved in its implementation should be clarified and strengthened (particularly in relation to Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans) and mechanisms put in place for more detailed measurement and monitoring of its progress; and
  • There should be greater coordination at whole of government level across all infrastructure projects (including the NDP) and new efforts made to generate broader support for national spatial planning across all of society.

The Report has highlighted a total of thirteen recommendations, categorised generally under the following headings:

  • Settlement Strategy and Compact Growth;
  • Investment and Prioritisation;
  • Implementation and Monitoring;
  • Support Measures for National Spatial Planning; and
  • Miscellaneous Recommendations

In welcoming the report Minister O’Brien said:

“This Report is an important signpost in the First Revision to the National Planning Framework and provides clarity on what should be the focus for this revision. I wish to thank the members of the Expert Group for their valuable contribution, expertise and commitment with this body of work.

“I am giving careful consideration to the recommendations of the Expert Group, as the revision process provides the opportunity to develop the national planning policy agenda to shape Ireland’s future growth and development in the years ahead.”

The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell TD, emphasised the value of the report to the revision process:

“In completing this Report, the members of the Expert Group have undertaken a comprehensive review which will be instrumental in informing the debate and discussion with key stakeholder groups specifically established for the revision process, including the reconvened Planning Advisory Forum. I look forward to engaging with the Forum members on the Expert Group report and advancing to the next stage of the revision process over the coming weeks.”

The Expert Group submitted their Report to Minister O’Brien on 16th August 2023 and it will now inform the preparation of an ‘Issues Paper’ which is currently in development for stakeholder consultation.

This process will also inform the preparation of the draft NPF Revision, which will be subject to Oireachtas engagement and scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee. The draft revision will be published for consultation in December 2023.

All relevant information pertaining to the revision will be available on the dedicated website, accessible at .

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