Investigatory powers in planning enforcement
To assist investigations into alleged breaches of planning control, there are a number of tools that Planning Enforcement team can use. These tools are defined in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
Planning Contravention Notice - section 125
This is used to obtain information about activities on land where a breach of planning control is suspected. It requires the person(s) on whom it is served to provide details of any operations or works which have been carried out, and of anyone with a legal interest in the site. A response must be made within 21 days, otherwise a legal offence has been committed.
Rights of Entry - sections 156 to 158
Section 156 enables the council to enter land at any reasonable hour without a warrant to ascertain whether there is or has been a breach of planning control or to ascertain whether there has been compliance with any requirements arising from earlier enforcement action.
Section 157 provides the council the right to enter land with a warrant issued by a sheriff if entry is refused.
Section 158 provides that the council has to produce evidence of their authorisation and state the purpose of their entry before they enter the land. Investigations may require continual surveillance. Any such action will be undertaken in accordance with Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000.