Planning Portal

Planning Publication

As part of the process of managing and determining planning and tree work applications, the Northern Ireland Councils (Planning Authorities) are required by law and in the public interest, to publish planning applications and supporting documents so that they are available to view on the Planning System.

This includes comments received on planning applications.

The way we process sensitive and personal data and Special Category Information will be considered under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018.

Criteria for Redaction

The Planning Authorities will take extreme care when publishing sensitive personal data and Special Category Information on the Planning System. 

The following data will be redacted [blacked out so that it cannot be seen in all instances, using electronic methods] or the document withheld i.e. it will not be published on the Planning System:

  • signatures (hand written and electronic);
  • personal telephone numbers including mobile phone numbers (this does not include commercial or business phone numbers);
  • personal email addresses (this does not include commercial or business email address);
  • registration plates on motor vehicles;
  • identification of children’s/youth’s information (photographs);
  • children’s names and ages;
  • DAERA Farm Business Identification number;
  • where there are security implications on a planning application site;
  • information relating to an enforcement issue;
  • personal information irrelevant to the planning application; and
  • criminal offence data.

This list of data is not conclusive.

Sensitive information/Special Category Information

Some planning applications are likely to contain sensitive personal data and Special Category Information. 

This will be redacted [blacked out so that it cannot be seen when published] or the complete document withheld, whichever is most appropriate.

Sensitive personal data and Special Category Information could include:

  • medical details of any living person;
  • bank statements;
  • tenancy agreements;
  • lifestyle details which reveal a health aspect e.g. needs a carer or has poor health;
  • education details where a name identifies the child;
  • environmentally sensitive data; and
  • details of any criminal convictions.

Sensitive personal data and Special Category Information considered as part of the decision-making process will be retained on file.

Sensitive personal data and Special Category Information not material to the decision-making process will be redacted and not held on file.


To deliver a consistent approach when dealing with comments on Planning applications, the Planning Authorities will deal with representations received in the following manner:

  • Personal Data will be redacted as set out above, names and addresses of senders will be published (unless anonymity is requested – see notes below);
  • If a representation contains information that may be defamatory, malicious, inaccurate or libellous, the communication may be returned to sender along with the letter at Annex A, explaining that it cannot be accepted; 
  • Anonymous representations will be considered and published;
  • Where details of the sender have been provided but anonymity is requested, the representation will be anonymised for publication with personal data removed.
  • The planning authority will use its discretion when considering whether to publish photographs accompanying a representation but where photographs are published, they will be subject to redaction criteria as set out above; and

Copy document requests

All personal data will be redacted when providing copies of planning applications and supporting documentation.


Our reference:                                                                                                                                                                                                             



Please find enclosed your objection letter to the above planning application.

This has been returned to you as it contains issues that could be considered _________________ and are not relevant Planning considerations.

Please re submit your objection ensuring it relates to relevant planning matters and does not contravene the guidance within our Planning Publication Policy regarding personal or sensitive information and Special Category Information as per General Data Protection Regulations.

Kind regards

Planning Business Support Team