51,000 worker shortfall to meet retrofit and construction goals
16th February 2024
Construction outlook: Dissecting 2023 and expected trends in 2024
19th February 2024

Publication of first NPF revision imminent

According to A Road Map for the First Revision of the National Planning Framework, and the Housing Minister, a draft of the first revision of the National Planning Framework (NPF) will be published in Q1 2024.

Recent demographic and econometric modelling projects that population increases in Ireland and demand for accommodation has been underestimated and the State may require the delivery of tens of thousands of additional homes – beyond what was envisioned in Housing for All – by 2030.

As such, in June 2023, government approved the commencement of the process to revise the NPF, the document which guides Ireland’s strategic planning and development to ensure sustainable growth alongside population growth.

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, government is required to either revise, replace, or state its rationale for not revising the NPF every six years after its publication. The NPF was originally published in March 2018.

Publication of the draft revision of the NPF and accompanying technical assessment, as well as a national public consultation, had been slated for November 2023 to January 2024, with amendments considered and applied in February, and final approval in March. However, at the time of print, this has not materialised.

Speaking with eolas Magazine in June 2023, Minister for Housing Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD made a commitment to “stick to the timeframe”, indicating that the revised NPF would progress “its various stages and back to go through by the first quarter [of 2024]”.

The timeframe for the first revision was included in A Road Map for the First Revision of the National Planning Framework which had four objectives:

  1. provide outline of the process and the intention of the revision to the NPF;
  2. inform all interested parties of the revision;
  3. outline the background to the process and the timeframes for each stage of the revision; and
  4. confirm the consultation processes involved in the revision.

It also proposed the creation of three new engagement structures.

The first of these is a planning advisory forum, which is to be chaired by a Minister of State with the stated objective of ensuring “the participation of relevant organisations, professional bodies and technical experts in the [planning policymaking] process”.

The second of these is the reconstitution of the Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board and Co-ordination Group, which is aimed at reducing the “administrative burden in delivering major projects”.

Third, the Government claims that higher-than-expected levels of migration will drive up construction requirements. With the objective of meeting the higher-than-expected levels of population growth, a joint ESRI research group has been established which can examine “demographic and econometric modelling”.

In August 2023, the three-person Expert Group for the First Revision of the National Planning Framework published its report, which is informing the preparation of an Issues Paper being developed for stakeholder consultation.

To strengthen and build upon the NPF, the report recommended:

  1. the new targets should be more ambitious and more clearly defined;
  2. the roles of the bodies involved in its implementation should be clarified and strengthened and mechanisms put in place for more detailed measurement and monitoring of its progress; and
  3. there should be greater coordination at whole of government level across all infrastructure projects and new efforts made to generate broader support for national spatial planning across all of society.

In the meantime, the Expert Group asserted: “Delays in the financing, planning, and delivery of key infrastructures have negatively affected our competitiveness over the past decade, and the benefits of greater sustainability in how we live and work will be key to competitiveness in the future.”