Powers of Entry
Effective planning control requires the ability to conduct detailed on-site inspection to assess whether unauthorised development is ongoing. The 2000 Planning and Development Act contains a range of powers of entry and inspection to enable planning authorities to exercise their enforcement powers under the Act. Powers of entry in relation to enforcement are contained in s.252 and s.253 of the act. These powers may be exercised by an ‘authorised person’, who in this context is a person appointed by a local authority and/or the Board for the purposes of carrying out enforcement and who holds a certificate of appointment, which must be produced when requested.
An additional power of entry without notice is conferred by s.253 on authorised persons, where this is required for the purposes of enforcement in the case of unauthorised development. This power is particularly applicable in cases of urgency. It may be exercised at any time where there are reasonable grounds for believing that unauthorised development has been, is being or is likely to be carried out. The authorised person may enter any premises at any time and can bring other persons (including members of the Garda Síochána) or equipment with him or her and, if necessary, entry may be effected by force. Upon entry the authorised person may request information or records or take copies and or records where it considers this necessary. In the case of entry to premises effected pursuant to s. 253 there is no requirement to notify the occupier/owner, except in the case of entry to a private house where 24 hours written notice is required.