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Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 12 July 2006

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 2 to the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 require the Secretary of State to set and meet a timetable for the majority of planning cases decided by the Secretary of State where the inquiry closed on or after 1 April 2005 and to make a report to Parliament each year on performance. This is intended both to ensure that such cases are dealt with expeditiously and to enable the parties to any particular case to know when they can expect to receive a decision.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has accordingly today laid before Parliament an Act Paper reporting on all decisions where the inquiry, hearing or site visit ended on or after 1 April 2005 and the decision was made on or before 31 March 2006. During this period, 100 per cent of the 200 decisions made by the Secretary of State on cases other than appeals under tree preservation orders were made within their statutory timetables, as were 532 out of 545 decisions (98 per cent) on tree preservation order appeals.

These provisions relate to decisions on called-in planning applications; planning appeals recovered for the Secretary of State's decision; other cases “linked” to such decisions, including listed building consent, conservation area consent, advertisement consent and enforcement notice appeals; and tree preservation order appeals. They do not apply to cases decided by inspectors or to those decided by the Secretary of State jointly with a Minister of another department.