Information Leaflet 10: A Guide to Enforcement
The Departments Enforcement Policy
PPS9: The Enforcement of Planning Control sets out the general approach that the Department will follow in considering whether or not to take enforcement action. It also provides advice on the Department’s approach to the enforcement of additional aspects of planning control over listed buildings, conservation areas, hazardous substances, trees and advertisements.
The Departments Enforcement Priorities
The Department will investigate all alleged breaches of control. However, when determining what (if any) action is to be taken, priority will be given to those breaches where, in the Department’s opinion, the greatest harm is being caused:
- Priority 1 – Works resulting in public danger or development which may result in permanent damage to the environment. For example demolition of or works to a listed building, trees protected by a TPO, demolition of a building in a conservation area, and commencement of building operations without permission.
- Priority 2 – Unauthorised works/uses which cause loss of amenity or any other significant public or private impact.
- Priority 3 – Non-compliance with conditions of a planning approval (unless they relate to serious amenity issues in which case it may fall into Priority 1 or 2).
- Priority 4 – Minor breaches that can be regularised for example domestic sheds, fences, extensions.
This list is for guidance only and is not an exhaustive list.
Harm resulting from a breach of planning control could concern environmental amenity or safety issues and include for example, noise nuisance, loss of daylight or danger from increased traffic flows. In some instances these breaches may fall under the control of the local council e.g. noise pollution.
Harm resulting from a breach of control does not include, for example, competition to another business or trespass onto someone else’s land. It may be possible to address issues such as these by way of civil action, although this is a matter for the individual to pursue and not a planning matter.
It is important to note, however, that in the event enforcement action is taken as a result of a breach of planning control, that action will be taken against the owner(s) or occupier(s) where the breach has occurred.