The figures show that in 1993 the percentage of planning applications processed within the statutory two month period by Scottish planning authorities was 63.3%, an improvement of 4.4% over the previous year.
This is the first time since 1988 that the figure has exceeded 60% and 29 authorities achieved that level of performance or better, compared with an average of 22 in the preceding four years.
Commenting on the figures, Allan Stewart, minister for planning at The Scottish Office said:
'Slow planning decisions can otherwise discourage investment decisions and job opportunities. Householders too will welcome faster decisions.
'Authorities who have adopted COSLA's model charter on planning and the good practices recommended by The Scottish Office, can take much of the credit for last year's improvement.
'I am sure that, as more authorities adopt more of these good practices, still greater improvements can be achieved.
'The Scottish Office will continue to work with COSLA to encourage further improvements in the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the planning system. This is what the Citizen's Charter is all about.'