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Volume 979: debated on Thursday 21 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated backlog of planning applications; and what he proposes to do to reduce this number and speed up the planning process.

Local planning authorities as a whole determine about 70 per cent. of planning applications within eight weeks and about 90 per cent. within 13 weeks. I shall begin publishing details of the performance of individual local authorities in handling planning applications in the Spring.The Local Government Planning and Land (No. 2) Bill contains measures to end the duplication of planning functions. There will be proposals for increasing the limits of development permitted under the general development order and for improving the efficiency of the appeals system. There will be a code of practice, devised by the local authority associations, timetabling consultations on planning applications.