Coronavirus (COVID-19) and planning enforcement

The COVID-19 pandemic has had implications for investigating possible breaches of planning control and we have seen a significant increase in the number of breaches reported. 

During lockdown, officers have been less able to visit sites and many investigations have had to be postponed until lockdown restrictions were lifted. As a result, we are experiencing a significant increase in workload.  

We politely ask that customers are patient in terms of the timescale for officers dealing with reported breaches as we work through a high volume of existing and new cases. In most circumstances we will not be in a position to provide accurate timescales for the progress of each case.

Report a planning breach

Sometimes development is carried out without the required planning permission or without following the details and conditions given by the council. We enforce planning to ensure that works don’t ruin the look and safety of an area and its community.

Planning enforcement will be considered for:

  • unauthorised display of advertisements
  • unauthorised work on protected trees
  • unauthorised work on listed buildings
  • unauthorised demolition of some buildings within a conservation area
  • unauthorised storage of hazardous materials
  • removal of protected hedgerows
  • allowing land to fall into such poor condition that it harms the quality of the area
  • harm to a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Before you report a planning breach

If you want to report a breach of planning control we suggest that you first:

How to report a breach

To report a breach, we need:

  • the address of the breach
  • type of breach such as erection of a building or structure, advertisement or change of use
  • your name and address
  • a detailed description of the breach

Details of who is reporting a breach are kept confidential. We will tell you of the outcome once we've looked into it.

If you would like to report a breach email

View the planning enforcement policy.

Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) include our most spectacular habitats and each has a management plan and requires consent before works are carried out.

It is a criminal offence to harm a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and can result in a fine of up to £20,000 or, on conviction, an unlimited fine.

Search for a Site of Specific Scientific Interest

How we use your data

When you use our planning services, some of your data may be used to enforce planning breaches. 

You can find out what data we may use and what your data could be used for in our planning enforcement privacy policy.