FOUR Gwent council departments failed to report on their performance in responding to planning consultations.

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s highways department, Monmouthshire County Council’s highways department and Torfaen County Borough Council’s planning and highways departments were named and shamed over a failure to comply with the statutory duty.

The law was introduced the Welsh Assembly under the Planning (Wales) Act in 2015.

In total, 13 council departments across Wales failed to comply with regulations.

A report into the performance of councils' planning departments in Wales says: “In order for the planning system to make effective and informed decisions on land use and placemaking, it is necessary to seek the advice of specialists and experts in the relevant fields.”

The report also found that highways departments were consistently taking longer to respond to consultations than other statutory consultees, including water companies, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government.

The report says: “This is disappointing in that, unlike other consultees, and with the exception of national park authorities, highways authorities are internal rather than external consultees for planning departments.

“Several local planning authorities report that lack of resourcing in other local government departments, and particularly in highways departments, is affecting their ability to operate development management functions in a timely manner.

“The purpose of the pre-application consultation procedure is to enhance and refine schemes to bring them closer to compliance with policy and community expectations prior to the submission of applications.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The technical expertise and insight offered by statutory consultees’ consultation responses can carry significant weight in the determination of planning applications, affecting the ability to make timely decisions."

A Torfaen council spokesman said:  “We confirm that the performance data in respect of the local planning authority acting as a statutory consultee has been submitted to Welsh Government. We received five requests for comments and replied to three out of the five in time”

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “Monmouthshire County Council strives to meet all its statutory duties. Like many local authorities in Wales, the council faces a heavy workload in dealing with planning applications. Measures are being considered to address and improve the situation.”

Caerphilly council has been contacted for comment.