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Local Development Plans - Examination process

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Local planning authorities have a duty to prepare a local development plan within the framework of national planning policy.
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Each Local Planning Authority in Wales must produce a Local Development Plan (LDP) for its area.

LDPs include planning policies and site allocations which, when adopted, are used to determine planning applications.

Before adopting an LDP, Local Planning Authorities must submit the plan to the Welsh Government for independent examination by a Planning Inspector. Inspectors assess whether LDPs are ‘sound’ and can be adopted by the Local Planning Authority.

The Welsh Government has identified three tests of ‘soundness’ which are set out in Planning Policy Wales. When preparing LDPs, Local Planning Authorities must adhere to this and other Welsh Government policy/guidance, including Planning Policy Wales, Technical Advice Notes and the LDP Manual.  

Examination and submission guidance

The Planning Inspectorate Wales has produced two pieces of guidance to assist those involved in the examination and submission of LDPs.

Local Development Plan Examinations: Procedure Guidance deals with the procedural aspects of each stage of the LDP examination after submission. It is aimed at all those involved in the LDP examination.

Preparing for Submission – Guidance for Local Planning Authorities aims to assist Local Planning Authorities preparing to submit LDPs for examination. It outlines the types of documents and information which, when submitted, can assist a smooth examination process. This document consolidates a range of previous advice and guidance produced by the Planning Inspectorate Wales.

If you have any queries about the LDP examination/submission process, please get in touch with the Inspectorate’s Policy and Plans team at or call 029 2082 1581.

Model representation forms

The model forms have been produced in consultation with Inspectors and Planning Aid Wales, using experience from previous examinations.

Programme Officer guidance

Prior to submitting LDPs for examination, Local Planning Authorities must appoint a Programme Officer. The Programme Officer is responsible for managing the day to day arrangements of the examination process and acts as an independent ‘link’ between examination participants.

The Planning Inspectorate maintains a list of experienced Programme Officers. Alternatively, Local Planning Authorities may consider seconding someone internally to act as the Programme Officer. The Planning Inspectorate runs a one day Programme Officer training course every quarter (dependent on demand). Email for more information.

The Inspectorate’s Programme Officer Guidance (June 2014) aims to assist Programme Officers in administering the examination. Local Planning Authorities are also advised to familiarise themselves with this guidance in advance of submission.

Standard Daily Amounts

The Local Inquiries and Qualifying Procedures (Standard Daily Amount) (Wales) Regulations 2017 prescribe the standard daily amounts Planning Inspectors can recover on behalf of the Welsh Ministers for undertaking local inquiries and qualifying procedures. These include:
  • Examinations of Local Development Plans
  • Inquiries in relation to the consideration of objections to Simplified Planning Zones
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders
  • Land drainage inquiries. 
The Regulations prescribe a standard daily amount for Planning Inspector time and overheads for each financial year, up to 2019.

Although not prescribed in the Regulations, other Planning Inspectorate staff time and overhead costs are also recoverable by way of standard daily amounts, where they assist a Planning Inspector with a local inquiry or qualifying procedure.