How is a breach of a development consent order enforced?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/02/2018

The following Planning Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How is a breach of a development consent order enforced?
  • Breaching DCOs
  • Enforcement
  • Investigation
  • Prosecution
  • Notice of unauthorised development/works in default
  • Appeals

How is a breach of a development consent order enforced?

Development consent orders (DCOs) are a form of development consent granted by the Secretary of State which authorise the development of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). The Planning Act 2008 (PA 2008) introduced a faster and more transparent development consent system for NSIPs. Projects falling into one of the categories of NSIPs in PA 2008, Pt 3 must proceed via this streamlined system (see Practice Note: Permission for nationally significant infrastructure projects for a list of projects which constitute NSIPs).

Enforcement of PA 2008 regime is carried out by the relevant local planning authority (LPA), which pursuant to PA 2008, s 173 is the authority for the area within which the project is situated. In areas where there are both a district and county authority the district authority will assume responsibility for the enforcement of DCOs (except projects involving hazardous waste facilities, where the county authority will handle enforcement).

Breaching DCOs

The enforcement regime for DCOs is set out in PA 2008, Pt 8, pursuant to which PA 2008 regime can be breached in two ways:

  1. carrying out development of an NSIP without obtaining a required DCO

  2. contravening or failing to comply with a condition of a granted DCO

Both methods of breach carry an unlimited fine by way of penalty if convicted on indictment. There is a £50,000

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