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New Order made to enable virtual Planning Committee meetings

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People will still be able to watch Planning Committee meetings following an Order in Tynwald this week that enables them to be held virtually while face-to-face meetings are not possible.

The Planning Committee is currently required by legislation to meet in public and meets fortnightly to determine around a fifth of the Island’s planning applications.

There is also provision, subject to a public speaking scheme, for people to address the Committee. Given the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions the committee is unable to meet, and this will mean a delay in the determination of some applications. 

During the first lockdown, and under emergency powers, meetings were allowed to occur by private telephone conference calls where it was not practicable to hold them in public, however, this method was criticised by some as the public could not listen or watch.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘The new plan will allow the public to remain fully engaged.’

‘Using video applications, such as Zoom or Teams, will mean interested individuals can watch, listen and contribute as usual, which ensures all meetings are open and transparent.

‘This amendment is needed to continue to provide a planning system that supports sustainable growth.’

The proposed amendment to the Planning Committee (Constitution) Order would not stop future meetings happening in person, but would allow for them to be more inclusive and allow people to take part who could not attend in person.