Green Party welcomes Environment Minister’s decision not to bring forward ‘toxic’ planning bill

The Green Party in Northern Ireland has welcomed Environment Minister Mark Durkan’s decision not to bring forward the Planning Bill after the DUP and Sinn Fein inserted last minute amendments which effectively amounted to a ‘power grab’.

North Down Green MLA Steven Agnew said: “Minister Durkan should be commended for holding firm against the pressure brought to bear by the DUP and Sinn Fein in his defense of a fair planning system.

“Again, the DUP tried to overstep its legislative competency in way that was so arrogant that it proved illegal.

“The DUP need to realise it is not above international law which exists to defend the rights of citizens against the abuses of government.

“The power afforded to them in the Assembly seems to have clouded their judgment when it comes to abiding by UK and European law.

“This has been clearly demonstrated by the number of legal failures DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots has had in recent weeks – all at taxpayers’ expense.

“With this attempted power grab the DUP and Sinn Fein effectively scuppered their own plans.

“They failed in their stated mission to promote jobs through the planning system by making this amended Bill so controversial, through lack of consultation, that they slowed the whole process down when it could have been fast-tracked as a fair Bill.

“The Minister has made a sound, rational and right decision not to bring this forward this toxic bill.

“It is incumbent on all parties and all Ministers to legislate within the law and not abuse positions of political responsibility and power to forward party interest at the expense of the people of Northern Ireland who clearly deserve a legal right of recourse.”

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