Planning Enforcement - What We Do
What We Do
The County Council is the Minerals and Waste Planning Authority for the county of Leicestershire and has a duty to control development associated with mineral extraction and the management of waste. Officers within the Planning Group of the County Council carry out monitoring and enforcement on all permitted development sites. In order to ensure that development is being carried out in such a manner as to have a minimum impact on the environment, the County Council has a responsibility to monitor :-
- Opencast and deep coal mining
- Oil and Gas wells, including exploration
- Landfill sites
- Waste recycling centres
- Sewage treatment works
- Land raise sites
Monitoring is undertaken on behalf of the County Council by the Planning Group to ensure compliance with planning permission conditions which control the way these developments are carried out. The County Council will also respond to all complaints regarding breaches of conditions, by the operators / landowners of these sites. Complaints will be investigated and the County Council will try to remedy the problem by negotiation. However, failure by the operator to comply will normally result in the County Council issuing a Breach of Condition Notice. This will require the operator / landowner to comply with planning permission conditions they have breached. There is no right of appeal and failure to comply could result in prosecution and a £1000 fine for each offence. Breaches of conditions can include:-
- Sites operating outside of permitted times
- Lorries depositing debris on the public highway when leaving site
- Excessive blasting vibrations
- Tipping in excess of approved levels
- Restoration and aftercare not completed to approved plans
- Unauthorised development
If you suspect that the above planning breaches of condition, or unauthorised development are occurring at a site near you, please contact us with information. You can report an incident by clicking ‘Report an Incident’ or by direct contact by telephone, or by contacting your Parish or District Council or Councillor, who will pass on the information to the County Council Planning Group. The County Council recognises those members of the public who report incidents want the problem dealt with quickly. However, the County Council can only act within the powers available to it. Where incidents are not causing environmental harm or, if unauthorised, they would likely be granted planning permission, the law states it may be unreasonable for the County Council to take formal action. If no action is taken an explanation will be given to the complainant.
What Happens If Development Takes Place Without Permission?
In the majority of cases brought to the attention of the County Council, the owner / operator has applied for and received the necessary planning consent before carrying out the development, however, unauthorised developments without consent do sometimes occur. When such aunauthorised development is reported to the County Council, an officer from the Planning Group will investigate and assess the complaint to establish what has occurred and the most appropriate course of action to take.
Whilst it is not a criminal offence to carry out development without first obtaining planning permission, it is a contravention of the planning laws and the County Council has powers to enforce those laws. However, the decision to take formal enforcement action is discretionary and must be well founded. The County Council has to decide on the evidence presented, following a complete investigation of the alleged breach, whether it is expedient and in the public interest to take formal action.
It is a fact that most of the complaints received by the County Council concerning unauthorised development are resolved without the need to resort to formal action. If negotiation fails to resolve the problem, the Enforcement powers available to the Council include:-
- Planning Contravention Notice This notice requires information including ownership details, Recipients can meet an officer of the Planning Group to discuss the alleged breach. This sometimes results in a retrospective planning application being submitted so that the matter can be formally considered by the Council's Planning Board.
- Enforcement Notice. Should the County Council decide a retrospective planning application is not appropriate or,if such an application has been refused, an Enforcement Notice can be issued. This specifies what the problem is, what must be done to put it right, and gives a time period for completion of the remedial works. There is a right of appeal, to the First Secretary of State against the serving of an Enforcement Notice, which could result in the Enforcement Notice being quashed.
- Stop Notice. This notice is issued in conjunction with the Enforcement Notice where the activity is considered particularly harmful to the community on the environment and the operation must cease immediately
- Injunction. This is sought in the County or High Court to restrain persons from carrying out or, continuing operations in breach of planning regulations.
- Direct Action. Considered a last resort, should the operator / landowner continue the operation or refuses to comply with the requirements of a notice issued by the County Council, the Council can undertake works itself to remedy the breach of planning and recharge the cost of works to the landowner.
If you wish to report an incident of suspected unauthorised development, such as:-
- Tipping of waste, soils, rubble etc on land.
- Extraction of minerals.
- Storage and sorting of waste, skip transfers etc.
click on ‘Report an Incident’. Please be aware that we will require as much information as possible:-
- The address of the site or location
- Details of the alleged breach
- When the breach commenced / took place.
- Names and addresses, including telephone numbers, if possible.
- Your name and address, including contact number.
All complaints and reported incidents are treated as confidential, unless the circumstances of the case make confidentiality impossible.
Page Last Updated: 11 March 2009