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Rights of entry

Right to enter without warrant

Section 196A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states that if there are reasonable grounds for entering land, an authorised officer can enter the land at a reasonable hour to ascertain:

• whether there is or has been a breach of planning control
• whether and how the Council’s powers should be exercised
• whether there has been compliance with any requirement arising from earlier enforcement action in relation to the land, or any other land. 

In the case of a dwelling house 24 hours’ notice of the intended entry has been given to the occupier of the building.

An authorised person

Any person duly authorised in writing by a local planning authority may at any reasonable hour enter any land. An enforcement officer is also required to carry authorisation on his/her person (Section 196C of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990). This will be shown to you on entry and can be verified along with the legislation under which the officer is authorised by: 

• Telephoning 020 7332 1710
• Viewing the Scheme of Delegations to Officers (500KB)
• Attending a pre-arranged meeting at our office based at the Guildhall, Basinghall Street

Section 196C of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states that any person who wilfully obstructs an authorised person acting in the exercise of a right of entry shall be guilty of an offence. 

Right to enter under warrant

If entry is refused, or refusal is reasonably apprehended, or the matter is urgent and there are reasonable grounds for entering land for enforcement purposes, entry by warrant issued by the Justice of the Peace may be executed (Section 196B(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990).

Admission to the land shall be regarded as refused if no reply is received to a request for an admission within a reasonable period (section 196B(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990)

Entry powers in relation to trees, listed buildings, advertisements and untidy land

Similar powers are granted in respect of trees under sections 214B, C and D of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and Listed Buildings under sections 88, 88A, B and C of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The authorised purpose of entry for the local planning authority in respect of trees and listed buildings is set out in the above legislation.

The rights of entry for the removal of advertisements are set out in section 324(3) of the Town and Country planning Act 1990 and the rights of entry for direct action in respect of untidy land are set out in section 219 of the Town and Country planning Act 1990.

Useful links

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990

The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990


Notifications