UK planning minister criticised over wind decisions

UK: The secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles needs to make decisions on planning applications for wind projects faster, a government committee has said.

The deparment for communities and local government has the power to review planning decisions

The Communities and Local Government select committee monitors the government department led by Pickles.

Its report into the UK planning framework recommended that the government should "take appropriate steps to speed up the process of taking decisions on recovered planning appeals".

This conclusion, the committee said, is in line with Pickles' own views about reducing planning delays. In a statement to Parliament in 2012, he said local councils were not making decisions fast enough and that delays create "uncertainty" for local residents and businesses.

Evidence submitted to the committee by RenewableUK showed the average time between an application being recovered by Pickles' department and a decision being made was seven months. The slowest case had taken 14 months.

RenewableUK also told the committee that of 45 cases called in for review since July 2013, 18 decisions had been made, with just two projects being approved. In six instances, decisions were reversed from planning inspectors' recommendations.

The committee concluded that Pickles was acting in accordance with the planning framework.