penalty fine

22 Apr 24

A single 10-year time limit for bringing enforcement action over planning breaches is set to come into force this week (25 April) as part of enforcement reforms set out in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023.

The reforms have been introduced via the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 8) and Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2024, which were made earlier this month.

The updated regulations remove the current four-year time limit for bringing enforcement action against building or engineering operations and changes of use to a single dwelling house. 

A single 10-year tariff will apply to all breaches of planning controls instead.

These changes will not apply where the alleged operational development or change of use to a single dwelling-house occurred before 25 April 2024, a Government statement detailing the changes said.

The regulations also include the introduction of Enforcement Warning Notices (EWNs) for local planning authorities.

EWNs constitute the taking of enforcement action and allow councils to invite regularisation applications when it appears that a development has taken place in breach of planning control

New restrictions on appeals against enforcement notices will also be implemented, according to the Government’s statement, which said: “Changes to when a ground (a) (an application for retrospective planning permission) will limit circumstances in which an appeal against an enforcement notice can be brought on ground (a).

“This will apply in circumstances where an application for planning permission has already been made to regularise the breach. These amendments do not apply to appeals against enforcement notices that were issued, and have not been withdrawn, before 25 April 2024.”

The regulations also seek to curb delayed appeals by handing the Planning Inspectorate the power to dismiss appeals against enforcement notices and certificates of lawfulness on the grounds of undue delay by the appellant in progressing the appeal.

Under the regulations, the Secretary of State will also gain the authority to determine the procedure for lawful development certificate (LDC) appeals.

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