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Environment Minister congratulates new Chief Planner

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Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan has congratulated Fiona McCandless on her appointment as Chief Planner in the Department.

Fiona, who is from Derry, is currently the Director of the Department’s Local Planning Division. She will take up the post of Chief Planner on 28 April 2014.

The post of Chief Planner will be central to ensuring that the reorganisation and transformation of planning is delivered effectively. The role will also be vital in ensuring that the Department continues to deliver its remaining role and responsibilities after the majority of planning functions have transferred to local councils.

Mr Durkan said: “I extend my warm congratulations to Fiona and wish her well in the journey ahead.

“Fiona comes to this post with a wealth of experience which will be invaluable in this challenging professional, leadership and management role. Part of Fiona’s responsibilities will be to ensure that the new councils have the support and capacity they need to deliver their new planning responsibilities, particularly in the period immediately after they assume their new powers.

“This appointment is the next important step in the transformation of the planning function in Northern Ireland.”

Fiona has worked in DOE since 1998 and is currently Director of Local Planning Division with responsibility for planning issues within each District Council area. Her previous posts within the Department have included Divisional Planning Manager for Ballymena and Principal Planning Officer for Derry.

Fiona is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast where she studied Environmental Planning both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She then worked in a number of public sector planning posts in the Republic of Ireland including Dublin, Roscommon and Donegal.

Fiona is a chartered town planner and was Chair of the Royal Town Planning Institute (Northern Ireland branch) in 2008

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