Policy Brief

Within Northern Ireland there has been a range of policy designed over the years that impact on the need for, or use of renewable energy technologies. The RECENT project has analysed the current status for policy and this is contained in the document below.

NI Policy Brief

Northern Ireland Policy Brief

As noted in this document the various Europen policies feed down into local Northern Ireland policy and one of the first places to consult when considering installing a renewable technology is the Northern Ireland Planning Service which provides several documents. Before considering making a planning application it is worth spending time investigating various planning documents to establish if there is a likelihood of your project receiving planning permission as the planning process is costly. On top of that it can be a long drawn out process from application to decision. Your application will be notified to any neighbouring settlements or developments that may be impacted by the project and this allows representations to be made to the planning service relating to your application. By arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible it will help you to understand the process and what to expect. The documents that specifically impact upon renewable energy developments include Planning Policy Statement 18 Renewable Energy Tecnology and supplementary guidance documents. These can be read below:

Northern Ireland Planning Policy Statement 18; Renewable Energy

Northern Ireland Planning Policy Statement 18; Renewable Energy Best Practice Guide

There is also a specific Anaerobic Digestion guidance document that recognises projects in this area may bring different challenges to other technologies and this can be read here:

AD Supplementary Planning Guidance

Outside of this specific renewable energy targetted policy there are other planning documents that should be considered. These include the overarching planning document, The Strategic Planning Policy Statement that was published in 2015 and which sets out the regional planning policies for securing the orderly and consistent development of land in Northern Ireland. Read the SPPS Here


Other documents worth consulting include the likes of PPS6 "Planning, Architecture and the Built Heritage" which sets out areas such as conservation zones where development is less likely or PPS21 "Sustainable Development in the Countryside". Which of these is most relevant may depend upon where your project is to be located.

The planning system is complex and if you feel that after reading these documents, or even the thought of reading them, daunting there are many planning professionals available with experience in dealing with such applications and these are easy to find through the appropriate searches.

Indeed if your appetite for planning has been whetted by the information on this page, there is an opportunity to learn more. There are plans to help the planning system evolve to have community benefit and if you wish to see more about this it was discussed within the Northern Ireland assembly in 2016.

More info to follow