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Dubai issues new law to regulate urban planning

Legal framework set to create new governance protocols for development and evaluate environmental impact

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has issued a law regulating urban planning in Dubai, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai.

The law seeks to develop an integrated and effective urban planning system that encourages investment, sustainable development, prosperity and improves the quality of life for citizens. It also aims to ensure the security and safety of the emirate’s community, enhance governance of the urban planning sector, define the responsibilities of related authorities, and improve cooperation, coordination and integration among them.

The law also seeks to enhance the efficiency of preparing and implementing plans, strategies, and policies related to urban planning, monitoring and gauging their results and achieving the principles of justice, equality, transparency and accountability. In addition, it will contribute to establishing a process for environmental impact assessment, creating a strategic framework for evaluation in Dubai.

The first step in implementing the law will be the setting-up of a new ‘Supreme Committee for Urban Planning’, composed of representatives of relevant authorities responsible for urban planning in Dubai, who will in turn be appointed through a resolution issued by the Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

The law defines the tasks and responsibilities of the Supreme Committee, including setting the general policy for urban planning in Dubai and defining the objectives of urban development within the framework of the approved goals and strategies.

Meanwhile, the existing Supreme Committee for Urban Planning, established by Executive Council Resolution No 18 of 2021, will continue to exercise its tasks and responsibilities until the Supreme Committee is re-formed by a resolution issued by the Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai in accordance with the provisions of the new law.

Moreover, the ‘Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan’ is considered the approved structural plan for the emirate of Dubai, and Law No 16 of 2023 assigns Dubai Municipality with the sole responsibility of regulating the urban planning sector in Dubai. The law also grants Dubai Municipality with the authority to coordinate with relevant entities and authorities that oversee special development zones and free zones, if necessary, enabling it to carry out the tasks and responsibilities specified by this Law.

As per the law, it is prohibited for any person to carry out or allow any development works in Dubai without obtaining related permits. Every person must ensure compliance with applicable legislations in the emirate, while executing development works and be fully in line with the conditions of permits that are issued.

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