Mr Jones said: 'This year the agency has been concentrating its effort on providing inspectors for local plan inquiries, to help ensure that full coverage is achieved as soon as possible. This will provide greater certainty for all involved in the planning process.
'This has inevitably diverted inspector resources from other important work. Nevertheless the inspectorate met many of its key targets throughout the year. New inspectors have already been appointed to help reduce the time taken to deal with outstanding planning appeals.
'I am particularly pleased to see the inspectorate's customer survey has again shown a high level of satisfaction among local authorities, the general public, and the planning professions, with the quality of the service the inspectorate provides. This was also reflected in the results of the prior options review, which I have recently announced, and which confirmed that the Planning Inspectorate should remain a Next Steps Agency for the next few years.'
-- The Annual Report and Accounts of the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency can be obtained from the Inspectorate's offices in Bristol (Tollgate House, Houlton Street, Bristol, BS2 9DJ - telephone 0117 987 8743) and Cardiff (Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF1 3NQ - telephone 0122 282 3892) and from HMSO bookshops.
The inspectorate also produces an annual Corporate and Business Plan, a copy of which can be obtained from the Inspectorate's offices in Bristol and Cardiff.