UK Gov Performance Improves in March 2023

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.

We also update the appeals handling times data to give customers the latest information on the average time it takes to receive a decision and provide an update on our other main casework areas.


Our appeal cases are dealt with in one of three ways; written representations, hearings, or inquiries. Ministerial performance measures include an expectation to reduce average decision times over time and make our decision speeds more consistent. All our decision times are measured from the day we receive a valid appeal through to the day we issue a decision. This is the same approach Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) use for application times.

The median decision time for cases decided in February 2023 was 29 weeks. We made 17,586 appeal decisions in the last 12 months at an average of 1,466 per month. We decided 1,611 cases in February 2023.

February 2023 was the third month in a row where we closed more cases than we received. We closed 1,781 cases and received 1,540 new ones. At the end of February, we had 14,062 open cases which is the fewest since August 2022. To deliver the consistent speed and quality of decision our customers expect we reduce our caseload much further. Applicants and Local Planning Authorities can help us with that by resolving issues with applications locally wherever possible to reduce the number of appeals being submitted.

Between November 2022 and February 2023, we made 584 decisions in cases dealt with by hearing or inquiry, which is 58% more than the previous year (369). This is because we are focusing on reducing the number of these types of cases we have open so we can make decision times faster and more consistent. We can’t make these improvements alone and we thank all parties who continue to support the appeals process.

Median decision times

Decisions on planning appeals by hearing are continuing to get faster now they are following the same timetable as appeals being considered by inquiry.

We have now begun to focus on making our decision times for planning written representations appeals more consistent. Over the coming months we will be focusing on deciding those cases which are oldest.

12 months to February 2023 median decision timeFebruary 2023 median decision time
Planning appeals by written representations26 weeks26 weeks
Planning appeals by hearing44 weeks25 weeks
Planning appeals by inquiry31 weeks32.5 weeks
Enforcement appeals by written representations44 weeks48 weeks
Enforcement appeals by hearing84 weeks74 weeks
Enforcement appeals by inquiry74 weeks73 weeks
All appeals28 weeks29 weeks

National Infrastructure

We have a high number of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) at various stages:

  • 67 where we are providing advice before submission
  • 20 submitted and at acceptance, pre-examination, or examination
  • 1 where we are preparing our recommendation
  • 6 where the relevant Secretary of State is considering our recommendation

The work to examine NSIPs is key to the economic growth of the country. Some of the latest applications accepted for examination include:

  • M3 Junction 9 Improvement – Upgrade to the junction to allow free movement from the A34 to the M3
  • Immingham Eastern Ro-Ro Terminal – A new roll-on/roll-off facility comprising a new jetty with three berths, improved hardstanding, Terminal buildings and an internal side bridge to cross over existing port infrastructure.
  • Mallard Pass Solar Project – A solar photovoltaic array and electrical storage and connection infrastructure

Local Plans

There are currently 50 live Local Plan examinations in progress.

Communities use Local Plans to plan for their future and help to protect them from speculative or unwanted proposals. We encourage Local Planning Authorities (LPA) to use our advisory visits to help them get their plans in good shape and deal with challenges well before submission.

A total of eight Local Plan reports have been issued this year. Examinations currently underway include Greater Manchester which is the biggest we’ve ever examined.

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