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Planning Portal leaps beyond million-application milestone

The Planning Portal processes its millionth application

The Planning Portal has processed its millionth application after a surge in online applications. 

The gov.uk service, part of the Department for Communities and Local Government, launched in April 2002. It took ten years to hit one million online applications by February 2012, but only 18 months to notch up another half million by November 2013. 
Around 75 per cent of planning applications in England and Wales are now submitted electronically via the Planning Portal. Not only has the service made council assessments and decision-making more efficient, but it has also saved 32 million pieces of paper and more than 8,000 tonnes of CO2. 
“Of course the number means little in itself, but it does indicate that the planning system is well on its way to becoming ‘digital by default’ and it equates to savings by local authorities and applicants of more than £400 million,” said Planning Portal director Chris Kendall.
The millionth application was submitted by a householder and will be processed by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.
Chris Kendall continued: “We are streamlining the planning system, cutting bureaucracy and simplifying the rules to make the whole planning process much more accessible and efficient for both applicants and councils. An important part of this is ensuring we have a swift, robust application process for all people to use easily.”
Kendall added the next step would be targeting ways of making online planning even easier and user-friendlier. 
75% - Percentage of planning applications submitted electronically
32m - The number of pieces of paper the service has saved