Planning applications should take no longer than 12 months to be decided, under proposals for a new guarantee scheme outlined by the Government.
In a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) chief planning officer Steve Quartermain to local authorities, he outlined proposals for a “planning guarantee” which will “ensure that no planning application should take longer than one year to reach a decision”. This includes appeals.
The letter sets out a plan for a maximum time that planning applications spend with councils in order to establish “absolute limits” for the one-year guarantee to be met. It asks local authorities for their input on the amount of information required to determine proposals, and how such information requirements could work in respect of national consistency.
Planning minister Greg Clark said: “At the moment, too many planning applications get stuck in the system for too long, leaving people in planning limbo.
“The planning guarantee will help to remove the uncertainty from the system for communities and ensure that every application, big or small, is dealt with quickly and fairly.”
But the proposals have been criticised by AEA global practice director for waste management Dr Adam Read, who believes they will be of no benefit to the waste sector.
He said: “This guarantee is all about household extensions, local shop expansions and other small- scale and local applications. I doubt this will cover even the less contentious waste management facilities like an MRF or bulking facility, and will do little to help expedite the backlog of facilities already in the system.
“It looks as if [communities minister] Eric Pickles will continue to be busy making judgments on waste facilities for the foreseeable future. With local and national challenges to almost every decision made on residual waste treatment sites and plants in the past 12 months, the sooner we get some clarity on a planning policy framework for waste management facilities, the better for all concerned.”
A full consultation on the guarantee will be launched in the autumn.