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Planning Process

Panoramic view of Swinden Quarry

How does a Mineral Planning Authority ensure that the terms of a planning permission are complied with?

     
  Understanding the nature of this system of control, especially when to enforce and what powers are available, is important in achieving the right balance and achieving effective and reasonable control.  
     
The system of Planning Control in the UK is designed to regulate development and the use of land in the public interest. It seeks to balance the needs of the development with the protection of the environment and the advancement of social and economic conditions. As such, the system of control over development requires a system to enforce planning control, where development occurs in breach of planning that is unacceptable or runs counter to the public interest.

Understanding the nature of this system of control, especially when to enforce and what powers are available, is important in achieving the right balance and achieving effective and reasonable control.

Introduction
     
If development is carried out without the benefit of planning permission, this is not a criminal offence and will not automatically result in any prosecution.
 
Carrying out development in England and Wales is a matter that requires planning permission.This may be allowed in certain limited cases by Statutory Rules and Orders made by the Government, known as permitted development. In all other cases a formal planning application is required and, after due consideration, this may be either permitted or refused. Where permission is granted, this is generally the subject of conditions.
Where development occurs under a valid planning permission that is subject to conditions, permission is required for any variation in the development that would
  depart from those conditions. If development is carried out without the benefit of planning permission this is not a criminal offence and will not automatically result in any prosecution. Instead, consideration should then be given to the appropriate response by the Local Planning Authority. This is largely because not all breaches of planning control are unacceptable or would normally be refused permission and hence, they would not be best dealt with by the courts.

There is an element of discretion needed in each case as well as expertise in understanding development and its implications, to determine whether the breach is serious and unacceptable under the prevailing planning policies, or whether it is acceptable and would otherwise be granted planning permission. Where the breach is unacceptable and sufficiently serious consideration would then be needed as to what enforcement action should be taken.

The power to enforce against breaches of planning control is therefore discretionary. The decision over whether to enforce or not, rests entirely with the relevant Local Planning Authority, which in the case of minerals or waste development, is the Minerals Planning Authority.

In some cases development may be acceptable and may be best approached by taking no action or by seeking a retrospective planning application to regularise the breach and to allow the development to continue while being controlled by conditions. In other cases it may be appropriate to consider enforcement action and there are a number of sanctions available to Local Planning Authorities to ensure that planning control is maintained. These are known as enforcement powers - a set of tools for local authority to tackle each circumstance as appropriate.

The role of the Mineral Planning Authority is not only to make a decision as to whether a proposed development is acceptable, but also to ensure that the terms of any planning permission that has been granted, are subsequently complied with. This will include the monitoring of works on site and where necessary, the enforcement of planning conditions.

. . . more