Draft Revision of National Planning Framework open for public consultation 

Government has agreed to the publication of a draft first revision of the National Planning Framework (NPF) for public consultation. The NPF is the overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland to 2040. 

The Draft Revision of the NPF focuses on the need to update the Framework (introduced in 2018) in order to appropriately reflect changes to Government policy that have taken place since its initial publication six years ago, such as climate transition, regional development, demographics, digitalisation and investment and prioritisation. 

The Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, gives a statutory underpinning to the NPF that is now reaffirmed through the Planning and Development Bill, 2023 which provides for a strengthened plan-led system based on an integrated hierarchy of plan-making, with the NPF at the apex of that hierarchy.  

The Draft Revision has been published here and members of the public are encouraged to share their views by making a submission on the draft as part of the public consultation process. Public consultation on the draft will run from today, 10th July 2024 to 5pm on 12th September 2024. An information campaign (including broadcast, print digital and social media) will also run to raise awareness of the consultation process and to encourage the public to engage with the draft revision.  

The draft revised framework retains the original NPF focus on a more balanced distribution of growth across all of Ireland’s regions – emphasising the potential for regional growth to harness the attractiveness and assets of all regions and places to a greater extent than ever before. Emerging changes in population distribution across the regions detailed in Census 2022 are encouraging. In terms of regional growth, the pattern is one of all three regions growing and in addition, every county in Ireland saw population growth in Census 2022. While recent Census data indicates a greater rate of natural population increase in Dublin and the mid-east and that the transition to balanced regional development is taking time to materialise, the revised draft remains strongly focused on ensuring equitable growth between the East and Midlands and the rest of the country.  

The revised draft also retains the original NPF commitment to the promotion of city-based population and employment growth with a target of 50% of future population and employment growth to be focused in the existing five cities and their suburbs including ambitious growth targets for the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. Greater investment and jobs-led growth in the cities will support a stronger urban structure and enhanced economic performance and investment for the respective wider regions.  

Once finalised, the revised National Planning Framework will be incorporated into the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies and the City and County Development Plans, including through updated Housing Supply Targets.  

Speaking today, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD emphasised: 

“The world has changed significantly since the NPF was first published in 2018, and we must ensure our national planning strategy is appropriate for our current and future needs. These changes need to be reflected in the NPF as they impact on how we plan for the country’s growth and development, particularly in relation to our growing and changing population and our climate action commitments.”   

“While we are revising the National Planning Framework to reflect today’s realities, some things remain consistent. We are absolutely focused on delivering greater regional balance for the future growth of our country and we remain committed to driving growth in all of our cities – seeing them as key engines of regional development.”   

“Crucially, a revised framework will guide our continued momentum in housebuilding. Supply is increasing with more than 110,000 new homes delivered since 2020, the year this Government took office. We also know the pipeline is extremely strong with work beginning on 52,000 new homes in the past 12 months. We aim to ramp up supply in the coming years and a revised planning framework will provide a roadmap to direct that activity.”   

“The draft updated NPF is now published and available for the public and all interested parties to consider – and, indeed, to make their own views known. This consultation is an important next step in shaping the final version of the revised NPF and I would strongly encourage anyone interested to make a submission.”  

Minister of State with responsibility for Planning and Local Government, Alan Dillon TD added:  

“The revised NPF will be a key blueprint setting out the future infrastructural needs as we continue to develop as a country. The draft revised strategy is focused on supporting the current policy approach which promotes regional development and the development of rural towns and villages through managed and sustainable growth. As our population continues to grow, 50:50 regional balance between our major cities and rural regional towns is essential to ensuring rural Ireland prospers at the same rate as our cities.”  

“I am pleased to note that the importance of providing community infrastructure including education, childcare and healthcare facilities, as well as recreational facilities such as parks, has been highlighted as a significant necessity for the creation of sustainable communities. The potential for these types of infrastructure to act as enablers for housing, with the need for timely delivery of facilities, is signalled in the draft NPF revision. I look forward to seeing a strong public engagement as we enter the public consultation phase.” 

All information in relation to the NPF and the First Revision is available to view at https://www.npf.ie/