Planning applications will be more difficult to monitor because of a change to the way they are advertised, the head of an island environmental charity said.

Kim Smith, the executive director of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, said the group was “very concerned” that the Department of Planning’s process for gazetting applications “no longer serves the public”.

She added: “Under the guise of ‘streamlining processes’, Government is reducing transparency and making the monitoring of planning applications more difficult.

“The public has a right to know what and where development is being proposed without having the onerous burden of daily checks of the Official Gazette.

“We should be allowed easy access and sufficient time to express concerns regarding any proposed development.”

Ms Smith said that since 2011 the charity had reviewed applications for development in or near areas with protective zonings.

She added that “until recently” the list of planning applications was made public on Fridays, or on a Wednesday if a Friday fell on a holiday, with the deadline for objections 14 days after the date an application was published.

Ms Smith said: “This practice made it easy for the public and environmental organisations concerned with development and subdivision applications to monitor planning applications and manage their responses.”

The Government last week released a statement to encourage the public to use the online Official Gazette to view development applications.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the move online had allowed the DoP “to take a more efficient and streamlined approach towards the advertisements of planning applications”

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