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vital statistics

Targets for the Planning Inspectorate to deal with appeals, enforcements, call-ins and development plans were unveiled last week.By March 2004,80 per cent of reports to the secretary of state on calledin schemes must be delivered within seven weeks of an inquiry ending. Also,80 per cent of all planning appeals decided by hearings must now be determined within 30 weeks.

The number of empty houses in London has fallen below 100,000 for the first time in recent years, according to mayor Ken Livingstone.However, there are still 58,000 homeless households in the capital and the mayor is demanding another 3,500 empty homes are returned to use within the next year.

Britain's train service standards continue to decline, especially for commuters.The Strategic Rail Authority said 19.5 per cent of the UK's train services were delayed in the first three months of this year, compared with 19.1 per cent in the same period in 2002.

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