PLANNING officials in the Yorkshire Dales are quicker than most when it comes to making decisions, according to statistics released by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Despite having to deal with an increase in the volume of work, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority approved 95 per cent of all applications during the past municipal year, compared with the national average of 85 per cent.

The department also determined 71 per cent of all applications within the eight-week target period set by Government, compared with the national average of 66 per cent.

Deputy planning chief Andrew McCullagh said: "Every day, the national park authority's planning team faces the challenge of balancing the need to protect and maintain the wonderful Dales environment and landscape, with the needs of those who live, visit or work in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

"These figures demonstrate we're meeting that challenge and by providing a personalised service to applicants, including pre-applications discussions and site visits, we are able to approve a high percentage of applications for planning permission.

"We're now looking forward to another busy year and building on this excellent result."