Digby Jones tells firms to give him details of disputes as confederation lobbies to speed up planning process.
CBI director-general Digby Jones has called on the construction industry to reveal details of planning nightmares in a drive to speed up the process.

Jones was also expected to press construction minister Nick Raynsford to quicken the planning system at a meeting due to take place this week.

Speaking at last Thursday's launch of the Confederation of Construction Clients, Jones said the planning system was a major obstacle to improving productivity in British industry.

He urged the audience to arm the CBI with details of developments that were hampered by lengthy planning disputes. These would be used by the confederation to lobby government to simplify the process.

Jones called for a quick, efficient, transparent process, which would have an input from regional development agencies to provide a wider economic perspective.

He slammed the system that allowed the same councillors that decided on a multimillion-pound corporate headquarters to rule on a resident's bedroom extension.

Jones warned: "A world-class economy needs a world-class, speedy planning system. It will be a key point of CBI lobbying."

The Royal Town Planning Institute will also meet the CBI in the new year to thrash out proposals for a strategic planning system.

David Rose, the institute's director of public affairs, said: "We hope the CBI will support us in seeking a focused system and getting a national strategic framework."

The CBI is to launch a probe into the impact of planning issues on business in the UK next spring following a challenge from chancellor Gordon Brown to address the UK's shortfall in productivity and investmenthe UK.

Jones also welcomed the launch of the Confederation of Construction Clients as part of the drive to improve construction's productivity.

He urged the industry to continue with initiatives directed at sharing information such as the Construction Best Practice Programme and the Movement for Innovation.