§ Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What penalties apply where work begins on development that requires prior planning permission before planning permission has been granted; and how the penalties are enforced. [HL1883]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty)
The enforcement of planning controls is a matter for the relevant planning authority. Local planning authorities have wide ranging enforcement powers which they can use at their discretion if they consider any unauthorised development is unacceptable on planning grounds. These include the power to issue an enforcement notice, serve a breach of condition notice or serve a stop notice to terminate any unauthorised development.
It is an offence to ignore the provisions of notices once they have come into effect. On conviction a person may find himself subject to a summary penalty. The maximum penalty in the magistrates' court is £20,000 and there is no upper limit on the penalty which the Crown Court may impose on conviction. It is a matter for the court to determine the level of fines imposed. Local planning authorities may seek an injunction in the High Court or the County Court to restrain an actual or threatened breach of planning control.