My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Parmjit Dhanda) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
My right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears) is today laying before the House a copy of the Planning Inspectorate’s annual report and accounts for 2007-08.
The report gives an overview of the performance of the inspectorate and demonstrates the importance of a credible, accessible planning tribunal service which is open, transparent and impartial. It also highlights the ways in which the inspectorate is supporting the Government’s drive for a faster and fairer planning system.
The report reveals that the planning inspectorate in England hit 25 per cent more of its key performance targets this year. In addition, it significantly reduced the backlog of its oldest cases. The inspectorate had also halved the waiting time for setting public inquiry dates for planning appeals to just 10 weeks by the end of the year.
In Wales the planning inspectorate has again performed to a high standard meeting all but one of its ministerial targets. The total number of planning appeal decisions has increased by nearly 4 per cent since 2006-07. My noble friend Lady Andrews has agreed with Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Environment Sustainability and Housing for the Welsh Assembly Government, that the inspectorate’s targets for its main areas of casework in 2008-09 should remain unchanged.
Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of the House.