Planning enforcement is the investigation that happens when an alleged breach of planning control occurs, and where a planning control breach is identified. Planning law breaches include not obtaining planning permission, not carrying out works in accordance with permission, planning condition non-compliance or changing the use of sites without permission.

Planning enforcement aims to resolve these using the most appropriate action. A planning enforcement officer is there to guide planning applications, breaches of planning law, retrospective planning applications and enforcement action. A breach of planning control is not usually a criminal offence, however, carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building, the unauthorised display of advertisements or damage to a protected tree may involve a criminal offence.