The new policy, which applies to applications made on or after 30 July, is aimed at reducing the number of planning applications unnecessarily referred to Welsh Ministers. It should result in a speedier and more streamlined planning system and assist the construction industry, at what is a difficult economic time.
Between 2005 and 2010, only 15% of applications referred to Welsh Ministers were called in by the Welsh Government for them to determine.
This change will allow the Welsh Ministers to focus their attention on applications that potentially raise issues of regional and national significance.
In future, LPAs will only have to refer applications for certain types of development to Welsh Ministers. These are:
- development in areas at risk of flooding;
- residential developments over a certain size;
- minerals development;
- waste development; and
- development which consists of the extraction of aggregates from new or existing sites within National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’
Environment Minister, John Griffiths, said:
"This direction will help to simplify the existing system and achieve a more consistent approach among local planning authorities.
"By reducing the occasions when applications are referred to us, local authorities will be able to provide a quicker and more streamlined service to developers and residents.
"It will enable more cases to be dealt with by local planning authorities, who are best placed to determine applications based on local circumstances, and will cut down on costly delays.
"The changes will also mean Welsh Ministers can focus their attention on projects that may impact across multiple local authorities."