Experienced developers know that the grant of planning permission is not the end of the process: inevitably there are numerous conditions to fulfil, both pre-commencement and during construction.

Failure to comply with conditions, can lead to the threat of enforcement action by the planning authority.

Private water supplies

Concerns about potential harm to private water supplies led to enforcement and stop notices being served by East Ayrshire Council, requiring all works on the Sneddon Law wind farm development to be stopped, pending production of a water risk assessment. The notices allege breach of a planning condition.

The enforcement notice is currently under appeal, but the legal challenge to the stop notice was unsuccessful.

Hydro schemes

An interesting round-up of recent planning enforcement activity by the Cairngorm National Park Authority, mentions common problems during hydro scheme developments are:

  • the lack of involvement of an Ecological Clerk of Works from the beginning of the project
  • working corridor widths not being adhered to during construction
  • lack of clear sections at relevant points along the penstock route

This highlights the amount of work required by developers to anticipate environmental problems during design, and then to monitor performance against planning conditions during construction – particularly where this involves moving large amounts of earth around on a steep hillside next to a watercourse.

Enforcement powers

Planning authorities have a wide range of enforcement powers, including the enforcement and stop notice powers used in the Sneddon Law project.

It is therefore important for developers/ contractors to monitor compliance with conditions and approved drawings. Any difficulties encountered should be discussed with the planning authority.