§ Mr. Cant
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, following the local authorities' positive response to circular 22/80 Development Control; Policy and Practice he will now examine his own Department's policies and procedures with a view to improving administrative arrangements and reducing delays.
§ Mr. King
My right hon. Friend is doing so. Management measures taken so far have enabled my Department to handle a rise in appeals of 40 per cent. as between 1978 and 1980. Output has regularly exceeded intake over the past five months and average times taken to deal with cases are generally no longer than in 1978 and in some categories of case shorter. Full details of the Department's performance are published quarterly. A management consultant's study of the organisation and procedures of the planning inspectorate is in hand, and major proposals for improving the appeal system have already been published. In addition, approval of structure plans has been greatly expedited.