Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA addressed the final event in a series of local government place-shaping and infrastructure webinars this morning. Organised by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA), the webinars focused on getting place-shaping right and how this can have a long-term and positive impact for all our communities.
Through the sessions, the Infrastructure Minister, senior civil servants, academics, key stakeholders, local government representatives and other subject matter experts outlined the potential long-term benefits of ambitious council planning and place shaping policies.
The final session was held today (25th November 2020) and was attended by the Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon MLA.
Cllr Martin Kearney, NILGA Office Bearer (Mid Ulster District Council) and Chair of the session today, commented:
“I welcome the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA’s valuable input into today’s final Place Shaping and Infrastructure webinar. For over five years now, councils have been responsible for the delivery of planning and place shaping, one of the most significant responsibilities for all of us in local government. Building the right things in the right places for all our citizens is imperative, but equally important is ensuring we protect our local heritage and environment along the way.
“The Covid pandemic has made us take a fresh look at how we live, work and interact within our communities. Planning and place shaping in the new norm will affect the lives of everyone, therefore it is essential that we as councillors and councils have strong, efficient and focused planning systems that attract investment, grow our local economies and create vibrant and sustainable local communities that serve everyone.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA said:
“I want to thank NILGA for inviting me today to virtually share my vision on planning for a green recovery and what a “new normal” might look like in terms of infrastructure. Just as virtual conferences and webinars have become our “new normal,” the past eight months of unprecedented and incredibly challenging times have forced us to be ambitious, innovative, creative and indeed courageous in finding ways to come together.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we were given a glimpse of how things could and can be. Quieter roads, safer roads, cleaner air, more families out walking and cycling. Infrastructure is key to making this a lasting change by taking us to a better place, economically, socially and environmentally. Working together with councils and local communities we can and must create more opportunities for active travel, and safer infrastructure for those who want to walk, wheel and cycle. I believe together we can build a better, greener, healthier, happier future.”