A breach of planning permission is defined in section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as the carrying out of development without the required planning permission or failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted. This is an offence.

Another example of a breach of planning permission involves changing the use of a site or buildings without obtaining permission where permission is needed.

Depending on what type of planning permission has been breached, there are different types of enforcement actions that the officer can apply – from planning contravention notice, through planning enforcement order to stop notice and temporary stop notice.