Local planning authorities have discretionary power to investigate and enforce any potential breaches of planning control. Planning enforcement is usually carried out by an enforcement officer, whose role may include:

• Providing guidance about planning applications, breaches of planning law, retrospective planning applications and enforcement action.
• Investigating complaints to determine whether planning permission for works that have begun or are completed is required.
• Making site visits. Enforcement officers have a legal right of entry to investigate alleged breaches of planning law. If entry is refused, a warrant may be obtained.
• Assessing developments that are in breach of planning law to determine the harm done and the possible remedies.
• Entering into negotiations with the parties.
• Taking enforcement action.
• Checking compliance with enforcement action.
• Instigating prosecutions for non-compliance with enforcement action.