Planning Inspectors (Decision Making) (Written)

Alison Halford:

Following on from the Minister’s press release on 8 May, what action has the Minister taken to reduce the time it takes planning inspectors to come to a decision? (WAQ18198)

Sue Essex:

In the press notice on 8 May, I reported that I had informed the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions Select Committee of our proposals for reviewing the planning system in Wales. A consultation paper on those proposals has been issued and we are now in the process of analysing the responses. I intend to discuss the results and ways forward with the Environment, Planning and Transport Committee in July.

I am naturally keen to reduce the time that it takes inspectors to issue their decisions, however it is also necessary to ensure that all the evidence in an appeal is thoroughly considered and that enough preparation time is given to the parties.

I was pleased with the planning inspectorate’s performance in the last financial year, when it met all the targets that I set it. This year, for the first year, I am introducing demanding new ministerial targets for deciding enforcement appeals and I know that the inspectorate will work hard to achieve them.

The Assembly is also planning to introduce new procedure rules for conducting recovered appeals, called-in applications and enforcement appeals early in 2003. These new procedures will further speed up the appeals process.

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