Privacy - Planning

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the 11 Northern Ireland Councils (the Councils) are joint Data Controllers under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) for the personal data gathered to enable the processing of; applications for any permission, consent, approval or determination; enforcement cases; or Tree Preservation Order requests. You are providing your personal data to us and our lawful basis for processing it is the compliance with a legal obligation under the Planning Act (NI) 2011 and related subordinate legislation.

DfI and the Councils are committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services.  The purpose of this privacy notice is to explain why and how we collect and use your personal information, your rights regarding this information and how we comply with data protection law.

Why are you processing my personal information?

  • To enable us to process; applications for any permission, consent, approval or determination; or
  • To investigate enforcement complaints; or
  • To consider and process Tree Preservation Orders; or
  • To consider public representations on Planning Applications;
  • To ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
  • To notify you about changes to our services;
  • To answer any of your questions;
  • To notify you of the outcome of decisions;
  • To allow Audit reviews or investigations to be carried out;
  • DfI and Councils may also process the information for research purposes carried out in the public interest. For example to improve services and carry out statistical analysis.

Please note that when you submit a planning application the information, including plans, maps and drawings, along with other associated documentation (with the exception of personal telephone numbers, signatures, email addresses or sensitive personal data), will also be published on the Planning Portal through the Public Access Portal (www.planningni.gov.uk).

What categories of personal data are you processing?

  • Personal Information: Name, address, phone number, email address and signatures.  In some cases we will hold financial information such as Bank statements, invoices, utility bills in support of an application, as well as Legal and Commercial information if appropriate.
  • Special Category – Sensitive information including Health data / Medical details where it relates specifically either to a Planning Application or in objection to a Planning Application.                                                                                       

Please note Special Category data will NOT be published on the internet.

Where do you get my personal data from?

We get personal data from you when you apply for a planning application or Tree Preservation order, when you make an objection or declare support for a planning application, or when you make a planning complaint. We also collect your data:

  • When you use the website and our services (such as your name, address and contact details);
  • As part of our online registration process (such as your email address); and
  • Details of transactions you carry out through our website and in the processing of an application.

Do you share my personal data with anyone else?

Your information will be held by DfI and the Councils. Your personal data will not be shared or disclosed to any other organisation without your consent unless the law permits or places an obligation on us to do so. No personal information you give us will be used for commercial purposes.

  • Information may be shared internally among officers and other agencies/government bodies who are involved in processing planning applications and where necessary between internal council or central departments with the purpose of supporting an effective delivery of service. 
  • We may share your personal data with other Government bodies and enforcement agencies for the prevention, investigation or detection of crime.
  • DfI has contracts with a number of third party service providers that support the day-to-day operation of our Planning Portal and we share access with these service providers.
  • We may disclose or share information we have collected and processed with a third party if we are under a duty to do so or in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce or apply our terms of use and other agreements; or to protect the rights, property, or safety of the Planning Portal, our customers, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for the purposes of fraud protection. If we transfer ownership or management of the website to a third party we may also transfer your data to them, provided they comply with the GDPR requirements.

Please note that your telephone number, email address and signature will not appear on the internet.

The Planning Register

The Councils are legally obliged (*) to make applications for any permission, consent, approval or determination publically available for inspection by means of a Planning Register that is currently available to view at the relevant Council office. This will contain the Applicant's and or Agent’s personal details, including their name, address, and signature, and may contain email address and telephone number.

Planning enforcement information is not made publically available. Only cases which have resulted in the issue of a formal Enforcement Notice will be made available on an Enforcement Register that is currently available to view at the relevant Council office. Any requests seeking information with regard to enforcement investigations or to view enforcement files will be treated under the relevant governing legislation i.e. Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act 2000, and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Do you transfer my personal data to other countries?

Your information will not normally be transferred to other countries, however we may, as a matter of practice, have to share data with Planning Authorities in the Republic of Ireland in cases where a Planning application significantly impacts on a particular County in the Republic. Any data sharing will be in full compliance with all aspects of the DPA legislation and GDPR.  Any information published on the internet will be available worldwide.

How long do you keep my personal data?

Personal Data is held and stored in line with our Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.  Individual authorities may return sensitive data and or documents to the applicant/agent in advance of timescales outlined in the Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.

What rights do I have?

  • You have the right to obtain confirmation that your data is being processed, and access to your personal data
  • You have the right to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete
  • You have the right to have personal data erased and to prevent processing, in specific circumstances
  • You have the right to block or suppress processing of personal data in specific circumstances
  • You have the right to object to the processing of your personal information.

(*) Section 242 (1) of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 (the 2011 Act)

How do I complain if I am not happy?

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this privacy notice, how your personal information is being processed, or what personal information we hold please contact the  Data Protection Officer listed below.  If you are still not happy, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House
Water Lane, Wilmslow
Cheshire,SK9 5AF

Contact: 0303 123 1113
Email: casework@ico.org.uk
https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Information / Computer Security

Use of cookies on PlanningNI

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your computer, mobile phone or tablet. These are known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

What are cookies?

Cookies are used to improve services for you by:

  • enabling a service to recognise your computer so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so that popular services can be made easier and faster to use
  • analysing anonymous data to help us understand how people interact with government services so we can make them better.

What do cookies look like?

If you click on a cookie you'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the website server that gave you the cookie.

How we use cookies

PlanningNI uses a variety of cookies. The link below provides more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

How we use cookies

How to manage your cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you. However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by nidirect, or any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. Your browser is the way you access the internet for example Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari. The ‘Help’ function within your browser should tell you how you can restrict or block cookies.

For information on how to restrict or block cookies on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

Alternatively, you will also find details on how to restrict or delete cookies on a wide variety of browsers, as well as more general information about cookies, on the About Cookies website through the following link.

https://www.aboutcookies.org/

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the way our website works for you.

Information and security

Your attention is drawn to the fact that any information carried over the Internet is not secure; information can be intercepted, lost, redirected, changed and read by other people. Any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to mitigate unauthorised access and protect your personal data against unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction and damage.

We have implemented security policies, controls and technical measures to protect the personal data that we have under our control from:

  • unauthorised access;
  • improper use or disclosure;
  • unauthorised modification; and
  • unlawful destruction or accidental loss.

All our employees and processors who have access to and are associated with the processing of personal data, are obliged to ensure compliance with DPA and respect the sensitivities surrounding our customers' personal data.

We use leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard your data, and set strict security standards to prevent any unauthorised access to it.

Your rights and responsibilities

Please ensure that the information you submit is accurate and correct. Do not include personal information about third parties (including family members) unless you have told the individual concerned and they agree to it being supplied.

Tell us as soon as possible if any of the personal information you have provided should change.

Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our website, you are responsible for keeping this password secure. You should not share this password with anyone.

Plans, drawings and material submitted to the council as part of a planning application may be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (section 47) even if they have been available on the internet. You should only use planning application material which is downloaded and/or printed for consultation purposes, to compare current applications with previous schemes or to check whether developments have been completed in accordance with approved plans. Further copies must not be made without the prior permission of the copyright owner.  The Department and Councils in making the documents available in line with a statutory requirement does not constitute permission for you to breach any copyrights that may exist on them.

You can find out more about DfI at https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/ or https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/topics/planning. If you have any questions, or want more details about how DfI uses your personal information, please use our secure online contact form or you can call us on 02890 540540 (+44 2890 540540 from outside the UK).

If you have any queries about how we process your personal data please contact us using the information below.

Data Protection Officer: Aaron Jamison

Town Hall, The Castle

Bangor, BT20 4BT 

Tel:  0300 013 3333

Email: dataprotection@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk