Headlines: April 12th, 2010

The Welsh Assembly Government is to make money available to improve the delivery of planning services across the country and to idenitfy good practice.The Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, has announced that one and three quarters of a million pounds will go to 22 local councils and three National Park Authorities responsible for planning.

Each of the 25 authorities will get a grant of 70,000 pounds in this financial year to support improvements to local planning services. More funding is also being given to the Planning Portal to support the delivery of on-line planning services, and for post-graduate student bursaries at Cardiff University’s City and Regional Planning Department.

Jane Davidson said the money would help to ensure that the planning authorities could continue to fund improvements in line with the Assembly Government’s commitment to an efficient, open, transparent and inclusive planning process with the aim of shaping sustainable communities,tackling climate change and being ready to support economic recovery.

She added: “We have commissioned a study of the planning application process, drawing on evidence from a wide range of planning stakeholders across Wales, in order to identify evidence of good practice as well as areas where improvements could be made.” She said the Assembly Government would respond to its recommendations later this year.