Information Leaflet 10: A Guide to Enforcement
Formal Enforcement Action
Where a breach of control has been established and the Department has tried but failed to resolve the breach, formal enforcement action may be taken.
Depending on the nature of the breach, the Department may serve:
- an enforcement notice; or
- a breach of condition notice.
The enforcement notice requires a breach of control to be remedied, and will specify what needs to be done to remedy the breach and the period of time for compliance. The notice does not does not take effect until at least 28 days after the date it is served.
Where planning permission has been granted subject to conditions, and one or more of these conditions has not been complied with, a breach of condition notice can be served. The notice will specify what needs to be done to remedy the breach and a period of time for compliance. At least 28 days will be allowed for compliance with the notice. The notice becomes effective immediately when it is served
Where the Department feels that immediate action is required to remedy a breach of control which is causing serious harm to public amenity it may serve a stop notice. The stop notice may either accompany the enforcement notice or may be served at a later date but before the enforcement notice has taken effect. A stop notice is essentially a supplement to an enforcement notice and cannot be served independently.
Alternatively, the Department has the power to seek an injunction to restrain any actual or perceived breach of control at any stage of the enforcement process, regardless of whether The Department has exercised or proposes to exercise any of its other enforcement powers. An injunction is only likely to be used where there is an immediate threat to the environment.
The Department's use of its enforcement powers is discretionary and any action taken against a breach of planning control will be commensurate with the harm being caused and whether it regards it expedient to do so. The Department will also take into account the potential effects of enforcement action on both local and regional economies.