On a monthly basis, we publish the latest official statistics on appeals performance, which represent the highest volume (in terms of number of cases) of the work of the Planning Inspectorate.

Alongside this, we update the appeals handling times data to give customers the latest information on the average time it takes to receive a decision.

In summary:

  • we issued 1,238 decisions during October, this was lower than the monthly average of 1,442 over the last 12 months. The reduction in the number of decisions is attributed to an internal training event attended by most of our inspector workforce at the beginning of October.
  • planning appeals (S78) following the written representation route were decided within an average (mean) of 31 weeks, and appeals following the hearings and inquiries route took 55 and 34 weeks respectively.
  • the number of open cases grew by 295 compared to the previous month and stands at 12,887. We are working hard to increase the number of decisions we are making and are currently focusing on deciding more of those appeals which need a hearing or an inquiry, national infrastructure applications and local plan examinations.
  • the proportion of appeal decision outcomes remains consistent with the past year at around 1 in 3 appeals being allowed.

Local Plans

As of 24 November, we have 61 live examinations.

During October:

  • 4 final reports were issued
  • 1 plan was submitted for examination
  • we made 2 advisory visits

National Infrastructure examinations

See the register of applications on the National Infrastructure Planning website for a list of pre-application, live and decided applications.

As of 24 November 2021, the number of applications at each stage are as follows

Acceptance 1
Pre-examination 6
Examination 8
Recommendation 2
Decision 14

Earlier in November, the application for South Humber Bank Energy Centre was granted development consent by the Secretary of State to become the 103rd nationally significant infrastructure project and 62nd energy application to have been examined by the Planning Inspectorate within the timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008. 

Virtual events

Earlier this month, Professional Lead for Planning Appeals, Rebecca Phillips, wrote about the future of casework events and shared the outcomes from our research. Our future model for events is still being developed and will be shared early in 2022.

The model will incorporate process and guidance on how and where a hearing or inquiry takes place. This will cover virtual, blended and face to face events, taking into consideration the factors like:

  • the needs of different parties
  • availability of technology and venues
  • any legal considerations including our responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Diversity statistics

For the first time, the Inspectorate has published its annual staff diversity statistics.

The publication of these statistics supports our People Strategy and specifically our goal of “Embedding an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) approach to all work”.

These statistics help improve transparency on the diversity of staff and allow the Inspectorate to monitor and reflect how well it is progressing with the goal to have a Diverse workforce.

Gail Larkin, Lead HR Business Partner and lead on equality, diversity and inclusion for employees at the Inspectorate explains more in the blog post “Why we need to prioritise equality, diversity and inclusion”.

Reflections, insight and experiences – Planning Inspectorate blog

In May this year we launched the Planning Inspectorate blog to share insight into our work. Since then, we’ve had contributions from staff across the Inspectorate covering a range of topics from service improvement, performance, diversity, sustainability and what it’s like to work as an inspector. Coming soon:

  • the latest on the Applications Service and how we’re improving the way people engage with the nationally significant infrastructure project process
  • exploring how technology can support us in applying our professional judgement

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    Performance update – November 2021

    by Editor time to read: 2 min