Information on PEDW’s role, function and relationship with Ministers and Divisions in Welsh Government.
- Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) deals with a wide range of planning and environmental appeals and other case work including processing applications for infrastructure projects, examining Local Development Plans (LDPs), rights of way and common land applications (a full list is set out in Appendix A).
- Inspectors are independent tribunals and are responsible for land use and other decisions which are binding, and can only be overturned in the High Court. They also make recommendations to Ministers on cases which are recovered for Ministerial decision. Inspectors are, and must be seen to be independent and impartial.
- The Welsh Ministers accept Inspectors should have the capacity to make decisions pertinent to their functions, without prejudicial pressure or improper constraint. The Welsh Ministers also accept it is in the public interest that unbiased, objective and informed statements of the facts about decisions should be published, being intrinsic to fair, open and transparent plan-making and decision-taking.
- As a consequence, bodies such as PEDW are not subordinate elements of or integral to Welsh Government policy and operational departments which are most closely concerned with the services upon which decisions on environmental matters may be required.
- PEDW has considerable experience in appeal procedures and, through Inspector decisions and recommendations, implementing local and national policy. It is not PEDW’s place to question the aim of policy. However, PEDW may advise its client divisions and those wishing to introduce appeal procedures relevant to PEDW’s function, on the effectiveness of any new or change to policies or procedures they are considering.
Inspectors as independent decision makers
- It is the Inspector, not PEDW, who is appointed by Welsh Ministers to determine appeals and to report and make recommendations to them. Similarly, Welsh Ministers appoint an Inspector, not PEDW, to examine Local Development Plans and report on their soundness to Local Planning Authorities.
- Decisions and reports are subject to Quality Assurance procedures but the sole responsibility for the decision or recommendation and associated report lies with the Inspector. No one within Welsh Government or PEDW may overturn an Inspector’s decision or recommendation. Ministers may recover cases for their determination. Ministers may not interfere with the Inspector’s recommendation but they are not bound to accept the recommendation.
- To avoid conflicts of interest Inspectors are precluded from working in the area they live. If Inspectors join PEDW from a local planning authority they are precluded from working in that area. If Inspectors join PEDW from the private sector they are precluded from casework involving the consultancy they worked for.
- As private citizens, employees of PEDW may comment on planning applications and appeals. A memorandum of understanding is in place with the Planning Inspectorate (PINs) such that where a member of PEDW is involved in a case that goes to appeal, that appeal will be determined by a PINs Inspector.
Arrangements for casework in the Vale of Glamorgan
- The Chief Planning Inspector (CPI) joins PEDW from The Vale of Glamorgan Council. The CPI recuses herself from any involvement in all decisions including procedural matters and any legal proceedings relating to casework in the Vale of Glamorgan.
- Where not relating to routine casework matters which will be handled by the relevant casework officers, decisions on matters relating to casework in The Vale of Glamorgan will be taken by the Operations Lead, Inspector Group Leaders or the Deputy Chief Planning Inspector.