Skip to main content

Planning Enforcement Charter

Acting on breaches of planning control

The purpose of planning enforcement is to resolve the problem rather than to punish the mistake. Our aim will always be to negotiate and work with the developer to resolve the issue.

A breach of planning control is not a criminal offence and any action we take must be appropriate to the scale of the breach.

We have statutory powers to:

  • Investigate breaches of planning control and the conditions attached to planning consents.
  • Take formal action where a satisfactory outcome cannot be achieved by negotiation.

Our planning enforcement powers are discretionary, so not all breaches will result in formal action being taken. Planning enforcement legislation is designed to protect the wider public interest, rather than the interests of private individuals.

This means that even where a breach of planning control has been identified we have to consider if it is in the wider public interest to take enforcement action. We may consider some breaches of planning control to be acceptable due to their limited impact or it may be more appropriate to see the submission of a retrospective planning application

The decision not to act is a necessary tool to ensure that resources are targeted to matters that are serious in nature and scale while protecting the principles set out in planning legislation.

Enforcement action will only be taken if we consider such action to be expedient, having regard to the provisions of the development plan and any other material considerations. In addition, any enforcement action should always be commensurate with the breach of planning control to which it relates.

In making this assessment we gather evidence and consider the nature and scale of the breach, and whether it unacceptably affects public amenity and or the built or historic environment.

Only a relatively small number of cases require formal enforcement action. This may be a Notice requiring a retrospective application to be made, an Enforcement Notice or a Breach of Conditions Notice. In some instances, formal action may require the agreement of elected members.

Appeals against enforcement notices are considered by Scottish Ministers and dealt with, in most cases, by Reporters from the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals. Anyone who has submitted information on a breach of planning control is advised of the appeal.

There is no right of appeal against a breach of condition notice.

Failure to comply with a Notice may result in the Planning Authority taking further action. This can include a range of possible options including:

  • Referring the case to the Procurator Fiscal for possible prosecution.
  • Carrying out any work required by an enforcement notice and charging the person for the costs involved.
  • Seeking a court interdict to stop or prevent a breach of planning controls.

In addition to or instead of the above other action may be appropriate. This can include a range of possible options including:

  • Serving of a Stop Notice.
  • Carrying out work and charging the person for the costs involved.
  • Seeking a Court interdict to stop or prevent a breach of planning controls.

Page last updated:
10 Apr 2024

Help us improve this pageClose

We're sorry this page didn't meet your expectations this time. Please let us know if you have any feedback to help us improve the content.

If you have a question or comment about a council service or would like a reply, please contact us.

Thank you for your feedback