§ Mr. Heddle
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the discussions between his Department's planning inspectorate and local planning authorities regarding delays in dealing with planning applications.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
My right hon. Friend's view is that authorities should normally be able to decide at least 80 per cent. of applications made to them within the statutory eight-week period. The latest figures show that approximately 65 per cent. of applications are decided within that period. We publish quarterly statistics of performance and encourage authorities with the poorest levels of performance to improve their handling of applications. The National Development Control Forum is shortly to publish guidelines on the handling of planning applications.