Performance update – January 2022

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 1484 decisions during December, this was higher than the monthly average of 1430 over the last 12 months.
  • 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 57 and 29 weeks respectively.
  • the number of open cases increased from 13,029 compared to the previous month and now stands at 13,165. 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 percentage of Section 78 planning appeals that were allowed in the latest quarter was 28%. This is the same as the previous quarter and the joint second highest percentage allowed since the start of 2019/20.

Local Plans

As of 18 January 2022, we have 68 live Plans.

During November:

  • 4 reports were issued by us to planning authorities
  • 5 plans were submitted to us for examination
  • We made 3 advisory visits/meetings to planning authorities

During December:

  • 0 reports were issued by us to planning authorities
  • 7 plans were submitted to us for examination
  • We made 2 advisory visits/meetings to planning authorities

National Infrastructure examinations

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

As of 19 January 2022, the number of applications at each stage are:

  • Submitted and waiting for The Planning Inspectorate to accept: 0
  • Application accepted by The Planning Inspectorate and examination being prepared: 5
  • Being considered at examination: 9
  • Examination closed and recommendation being prepared: 3
  • Recommendation submitted to the relevant Secretary of State and awaiting their decision: 13

Events during Covid

Because of the ‘Plan B’ national Covid restrictions issued in December and the recommendation to work from home wherever possible, our events have mostly been run virtually.

Yesterday (19 January) the Prime Minister announced in parliament that England is reverting to ‘Plan A’ from next Thursday, 27 January. We will publish an update on this shortly to confirm the impact on how we deliver our services.

We are continuing our work to develop a future model for events. We hope to be able to share our conclusions and recommended new approach in the coming months.


We know how important it is to have the right number of staff with skills and qualities to improve performance and we continue to recruit and train to key posts within the Planning Inspectorate. Our recruitment of new inspectors continues, with applications currently open for band 1 planning inspectors. During 2021 we recruited 38 additional planning inspectors.

We are also seeking both a new director of strategy with current director Christine Thorby planning to retire from the Inspectorate at the end of March, and a chief digital and information officer. These are exciting opportunities for the right person to have real influence in shaping the future of the Planning Inspectorate to the benefit of our customers and our people. All our roles are advertised on Civil Service Jobs – search for Planning Inspectorate.

Applications Service

The work to modernise our Applications Service has been progressing. The Applications Service covers any application dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate. In December, head of operations and applications’ service owner Simone Wilding blogged about the milestone of passing the service standard and plans for users to experience the new service in action on the pilot project this spring.

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