Enforcement of Planning in Ireland
Enforcement of Planning . Any person can make a complaint regarding unauthorised development in Ireland by contacting the Enforcement section of the local planning authority. Unauthorised development may be a building or activity that is either in breach of a planning condition or for which no planning permission has been obtained and is not exempt development.
It is required for the local authority to investigate all complaints unless they believe it to be frivolous or vexations.
Generally there is a period of 7 years from the commencement an unauthorised development within which the local authority can bring enforcement proceedings.
Enforcement Of Planning Warning Letters
If the local authority inspector is of the view there is an unauthorised development they will carry out an inspection and may issue a warning letter in the first instance to put the person carrying out the unauthorised development on notice and to give them a period within which to cease the activity or to remedy the unauthorised development.
Enforcement Of Planning Notices
Once the letter has issued the local authority has 12 weeks to issue an Enforcement Notice. An enforcement notice must be issued in the correct form and it sets out that the local authority has formed a view that a particular development is not in compliance with the planning acts.
Again the enforcement notice will set out a period within which to remedy the perceived breach and in the absence of compliance the local authority can apply to the Courts for enforcement.
Application to the Courts for Enforcement
Where there is unauthorised development, any person can take an injunction or make an application to the Courts to restrain or cease that development.
In the context of local authority enforcement when following the statutory process the jurisdiction (Circuit Court or High Court) will depend on the value of the land.
Offences and Penalties
There are a range of penalties, fines and sanctions depending on the seriousness of the breach.
For the construction of an unauthorised development the minimum fine is
- €12,700 on indictable offences (before a jury) or the cost of construction whichever is less
- €2,500 on summary offences. (before a judge) or the cost of construction whichever is less
The Planning acts set out other penalties and fines if convicted which can include daily fines or imprisonment.
It is important, if served with a warning letter, or if you believe that unauthorised development is being carried out which affects you to consult with a solicitor here at Hatstone (Ireland) LLP to protect your position.