Enforcement Action

If we can't find a solution together we may have to take enforcement action. We'll decide what action to take based on how harmful the development is.

Formal action

There are different types of formal action we can take, including serving:

An enforcement notice

If you disagree with it you can lodge an appeal to The Planning Inspectorate before it takes effect. They'll decide on your appeal and have the power to grant planning permission for all or part of the development

A stop notice

Served in addition to an enforcement notice, stops all work being done and still applies even if you appeal it

A temporary stop notice.

Normally last 28 days from the date served and can be served without an enforcement notice

A breach of condition notice.

Served when a planning condition has been breached. It takes effect after 28 days and can only be appealed through the High Court


It's a criminal offence to breach a formal notice. If this happens we'll consider if it's in the public interest to go to court. Sometimes we can go to court without serving any formal notices. We can do this for unauthorised works to listed buildings, protected trees or advertising.

We'll talk to our legal team before deciding whether to prosecute or not. We need to make sure we have enough reliable evidence about the breach first. We'll only go to court if it's in the public interest.


We can apply to the County Court or High Court for an injunction to stop a breach even if we're unsure who's responsible. This can be on top of other enforcement action. Not complying with an injunction can lead to an unlimited fine, prison or both.

Direct action

In certain circumstances we have the power to ensure a notice is complied with by doing it ourselves. This is normally a last resort. We'd recover all of our costs from the owner. If we can't do this right away we'll register a charge on the property with the Land Registry.