Draft National Planning Framework (NPF) Review

July 11, 2024

On the 10th July 2024, in accordance Section 20C(5)(a) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), the Government published a draft of the first 6-year revision of the National Planning Framework (NPF) here. The Draft Revision focuses on updates to the NPF to reflect significant and sustained population growth observed since the publication of the NPF in 2018 and updates to Government policy, amongst other factors.

This Planning Insight focuses on the main changes reflected in the Draft Revision which can be summarised as follows:

National Population Growth Target increased from 5.8 million to 6.1 million by 2040. This represents an additional 300,000 people compared with the original NPF and would result in a total increase of 950,000 people over 2022 Census population figures. This projected increase in population is in line with the Economic and Social Research Institute’s (ESRI) baseline population projections contained in their July 2024 outlook.

Amends regional population growth targets as follows:

  • Eastern and Midland Region (EMRA):
  • Southern Region (SRA):
  • Northern and Western Region (NWRA):

Continuance of 50:50 growth distribution between EMRA and the rest of the country – although referenced as 49% in Table 10.1 of the revised NPF. 75% of national population growth is planned to be delivered outside of Dublin and its suburbs.

Extension of policy directing 50% of national growth amongst Ireland’s five cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

Establishes new minimum growth targets for Ireland’s five cities:

  • Dublin – 1.56 million by 2040 (+296,000 on 2022)
  • Cork – 320,000 by 2040 (+96,000 on 2022)
  • Limerick – 150,000 by 2040 (+44,000 on 2022)
  • Galway – 122,000 by 2040 (+36,000 on 2022)
  • Waterford – 88,000 by 2040 (+28,000 on 2022)

Reinforces compact urban form objectives of the 2018 NPF requiring 40% of all new housing to be built within existing urban footprints (50% in cities / 30% elsewhere).

Outlines a national requirement for 50,000 homes to be completed per year to satisfy demand. This is also in line with the ESRI projections, however, it is noted that this does not take account of existing structural pent-up demand nor a significant fall in household size (as outlined by the Housing Commission).

Places greater emphasis on the accelerated delivery of transport orientated development (TOD) opportunities at greenfield and brownfield sites adjacent to major public transport hubs in the five cities, suburbs and metropolitan towns.

Reflects an enhanced focus on GHG emissions reductions and renewable energy development (including biomethane development), reflecting broader policy changes since the publication of the original NPF (including Government Climate Action Plans, European Directives, and the Sectoral Emissions Ceilings agreed in 2022).

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