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Explanatory Memorandum to Planning Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Article 22 – National security

28.Article 22 introduces new procedures for planning applications, etc, where, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the consideration by the Department of objections or representations received in relation to the application raise issues of national security. Procedures will enable decisions to be made where, for security reasons, details of the development cannot be revealed but where to withhold such details would impact on the ability of interested parties to fully participate in the planning process. The Department will be required to hold a public local inquiry in such circumstances.

29.Special provision is made for the giving of evidence at inquiries under the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 where national security issues are raised. The Secretary of State may direct that certain evidence may only be heard by, or open to inspection by, certain persons. If the Secretary of State gives such a direction, the Advocate General for Northern Ireland may appoint a person to represent the interests of any person who will be prevented from hearing or inspecting such evidence.

30.Powers provide for the appointment, payment and functions of a person (the appointed representative) to represent the interests of those people who are prevented from seeing the restricted material.

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