Housing minister Sir George Young announced last week that new proposals would extend the deadline to 15 days if a council met the 10-day target for at least 95% of searches conducted in the previous 12 months.
However, Sir George added that pressures on parliamentary time would mean legislation on the targets was unlikely to emerge before October 1995.
The Association of District Councils and Association of Metropolitan Authorities welcomed the rethink, saying the DoE had accepted their argument that a 100% success rate was unreasonable.
'We oppose a statutory system as we already have a successful voluntary scheme,' said Tom Yellowley, chair of
the AMA's environmental health and consumer affairs committee.
'Already 80% of councils complete searches within 10 days and the situation is improving.'