Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance and enforcement are essential in controlling works and advertisements to conserve the special qualities of the Lake District.

What we do

We offer planning advice to help people understand our policies and implement them correctly. Unfortunately breaches of planning control sometimes occur. We investigate alleged breaches of planning control and take appropriate enforcement action where necessary.

We are committed to the principles of good enforcement including: clear standards, openness, helpfulness, proportionality and consistency. We have adopted the central and local government Concordat on Good Enforcement (PDF) for the Lake District, which sets out our approach to this area of our work.

How to register a concern

If you think a breach of planning control is taking place, please email with the following information:

  • The address of the site (with a location plan if possible)
  • The nature of the alleged breach, when it occurred and whether it is continuing
  • The name of the owner or person undertaking the activity (if possible)

You can use our Compliance Concern Form (Word document).

How long will it take to investigate an alleged breach of control?

We receive over 300 allegations of breaches of planning control each year. Our small team is seriously under staffed. We will continue to take enforcement action when it is in the public interest. We will undertake an initial review of all new investigations. The timing of further action will depend upon relative priorities and may take significantly longer than usual.

How do complaints get resolved?

Almost 40% of complaints we received in 2016/17 did not involve breaches of planning control.

Identified breaches of planning control can be tackled in a number of ways. We have discretion to take enforcement action, when it is expedient to do so having regard to the development plan (our policies) and any other material considerations (including the National Planning Policy Framework).

Often breaches of planning control are resolved without formal enforcement action - for example the owner or occupier may voluntarily remedy the breach. Sometimes it may be appropriate to regularise the breach with a retrospective permission.  In some cases it may be necessary to take formal action. In other cases it may not be expedient to pursue formal action even though voluntary resolution or regularisation cannot be achieved.  More information can be found in the Government’s National Planning Practice Guidance.

Useful links