§ Sir John Gorst
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria he employs to set the level at which local authorities can charge for a planning permission application; and what is the relationship between this and the actual cost to the local authority of dealing with an application for planning permission. 
§ Mr. Robert B. Jones
The calculation of the proportion of costs deemed to be covered by planning application fees is based on Price Waterhouse's 1994 report for the Department, entitled "The Costs of Determining Planning Applications and the Development Control Service" and on information collected from local authorities on the income derived from fees. We estimate. that the proportion of planning application costs recovered through fees in England is now approaching 100 per cent. and we will shortly be making an announcement about future fee levels.