I happened across some stats earlier this week on DCLG's website showing, amongst other things, the number of EIA applications received by local planning authorities across the country during 2011. I noticed how few such applications are received by some LPAs - many had none at all in 2011, and many others only 1 or 2. Of course most planning applications will be minor, but it does mean that many LPAs will have, in their establishment, relatively little hands on experience of dealing with the complexities of EIA development and the content of environmental statements. This is bound to have an effect e.g. on the time taken to reach determination on large applications and the relative lack of experience of planning officers in some areas may put them at a disadvantage in other ways too.
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