The findings of PINS’ latest performance update for England and Wales, published earlier this week, show that planning appeal decision times were significantly reduced in the most recent quarter.
Around 3,700 appeal decisions were issued between July and September, compared with 3,437 appeals decided by PINS between April and June, the inspectorate said, with 42% of written representation appeals decided within 18 weeks in September, compared to 12% in October 2018.
This is because the new recruits have allowed more experienced inspectors to concentrate on the older, more complex appeals that were stuck in the pipeline, it said.
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
03 Mar 2016
However, PINS acknowledged that the time taken to deal with enforcement appeals "is not meeting expectations", saying it had appointed more than 20 inspectors and case officers to work on such cases.
The inspectorate said it expects further improvements once an online appeals portal is in place, expected in June next year. The portal is currently being trialled across 27 local authorities in East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent.
In July, the inspectorate reported on missed environmental targets within its statutory timetabling, including determining environmental appeals on time. Only a third of environmental appeals (six) were made within the 28 week statutory period – a slight improvement on last year when it determined only a quarter on time.
Earlier this year, an investigation by ENDS found that only a handful of environmental appeals are successful. Most such appeals related to challenges to Environment Agency permitting decisions.