The County Council has the power to take enforcement action against minerals and waste related developments which take place without planning permission or without complying with a condition attached to any planning permission.
These activities are breaches of planning control and are unlawful. However, those undertaking them do not commit a criminal offence unless they have been served with a notice requiring the activity to cease.
The Council will not automatically take enforcement action when discovering a breach of planning control, in many cases problems can be resolved through discussions with developers and agreement either to cease the activity or to regularise the situation by submitting a planning application.
If formal action is required the County Council has a range of powers. These include:
Planning Contravention Notices (PCNs) - These require those carrying out developments to provide information about what is taking place and details of land ownership. It is an offence not to respond to a PCN within the prescribed timescale.
Enforcement Notices (ENs) - These require unauthorised activities to cease and specify the measures (if any) which are required to rectify any damage caused. There is a right of appeal against an enforcement notice which prevents the notice taking effect until the appeal is determined.
Temporary Stop Notice- The County Council can use these to bring an end to activities which are considered so damaging to the environment or local amenity that immediate cessation is required. They only take effect for 28 days but allow the Council time to investigate the issue, seek legal advice and if necessary draft an Enforcement Notice which may be accompanied by a Stop Notice.
Stop Notice - These may only be served in conjunction with an Enforcement Notice. They require the cessation of the specified activity and unlike an Enforcement Notice, in the case of an appeal against it, they take effect until the appeal has been decided. If an appeal is successful, the Council would potentially be liable for any loss of income that has occurred as well as the costs from the case itself. It is therefore not appropriate to use them in a situation where an activity has already taken place for a considerable period, or its impact, although unacceptable is not so severe as to require immediate cessation.
Injunctions - In particularly serious cases or where other remedies have not succeeded in preventing unauthorised activities, an injunction from the High Courts may be sought. Failure to comply with an injunction is a contempt of the Court and penalties are severe. Injunctions may also be used against potential breaches of planning control.
Breach of Planning Control
A breach of planning control occurs when development is carried out without planning permission or failing to comply with any conditions or limitations on a planning permission.
Enforcements can be taken out against breaches for a period of up to 4 years against operational development, which includes building, and up to 10 years against other breaches.
You can inform us of any breaches of planning control by letter, telephone or email via the contact details below. To enable us investigate please provide clear details as regards the nature and location of the breach.
Monitoring and Enforcement Officer
Development Control Team
Cumbria County Council
01539 713 422
01539 713 439