Enforcement/Unauthorised Development

The Planning Authority, in accordance with the statutory requirements under the Planning & Development Act 2000, as amended, will seek to secure compliance with planning permissions granted and seek to prevent unauthorised development. Any development that requires planning permission or a development which is in breach of the conditions of its planning permission is classed as “unauthorised development”. The term “development” covers a wide range of activities including:

  • carrying out any works on, in, over or under any land or buildings
  • and making a material (i.e. significant) change of use or structures or land.


How can I find out if a development has Planning Permission?

You can inspect the Planning Register in the Planning Office either in person, by telephone or by email, or you can do this by performing a search using our Online Planning Search system.

N.B. It would be useful to check whether the development in question has planning permission before making a planning enforcement complaint.

What should I do if I think that there is a breach of the Planning Regulations?

You should complete and submit a Planning Enforcement Complaint Form to the Planning Enforcement Section.

Planning Enforcement Contact details:

Planning Enforcement Section, Longford County Council, Aras an Chontae, Great Water Street, Co. Longford

Email: planning@longfordcoco.ie

Telephone: 043 334 3458

N.B. The Planning Enforcement Section cannot log a complaint until the Planning Enforcement Complaint form has been received.

What information do I need to provide when making a complaint?

  • Exact location of the site, eircode etc (a site location map if possible).
  • Details (where known) of the property owner/occupier/developer,
  • Details of the suspected breach,
  • Date the development commenced
  • Photographs where possible
  • Your own name & address and a daytime contact number.


What are the statutory time limits for taking planning enforcement action?

Under Irish Planning Law, enforcement action must be taken within seven years of the development commencing. This means that complaints must be made within this timeframe.

  • If the seven years have elapsed this does not mean however that the development concerned is authorised.
  • In respect of a development for which permission has been granted, enforcement action can be taken up to seven years beginning on the expiration of the permission.
  • Planning Enforcement action may be commenced at any time in respect of any condition attached to a planning permission concerning the use of land to which the permission is subject.

 There are some exceptions to this 7-year rule, which relate to quarrying operations and peat extraction.

N.B. Irrespective of the time that has elapsed:

  • An enforcement notice can be served, or an injunction can be sought where a person has failed to satisfy a planning condition concerning the use of land.

An unauthorised development has a negative impact on the value of a property:

  • No further works that are considered exempt may be carried out.
  • If the owner wishes to sell the property, the unauthorised development will decrease the value of the property.


What we can investigate:

  • the erection, extension, alteration or demolition of buildings
  • changes of use of land or buildings
  • advertising signs
  • works to trees protected by tree preservation orders
  • works to Protected Structures
  • breaches of planning permission conditions

What we can’t investigate:

Planning enforcement does not deal with matters that do not relate to unauthorised development, civil matters or matters that are addressed under other legislation and codes, including but not limited to the following:

Civil Matters:

  • encroachment
  • property ownership or other legal issues
  • private rights of way
  • trespass
  • civil boundary disputes
  • noise nuisance (unless noise breaches a condition attached to a planning permission) In relation to noise please refer to Environment Section for details on options available to you under law - environmental.complaints@longfordcoco.ie
  • structural damage to private property resulting from construction works
  • matters related to private drains
  • outlets associated with boilers and other gas appliances (unless these have a material visual impact from a public area)
  • other types of private nuisance 

For more information, please refer to: Planning Leaflet 6- A Guide to Planning Enforcement, Ireland, Office of the Planning Regulator, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage


Related Files

Planning Enforcement Complaint Form

Please Note:

Complaints regarding unauthorised development constitute part of the Council’s records for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 1997, as amended. While it is Longford County Council’s policy to keep the name of the complainant confidential during the course of any enforcement proceedings and afterwards when the case is completed the Council cannot however, give absolute guarantees on this as requests under the Freedom of Information Act can be appealed by requesters to the Information Commissioner. In exceptional circumstances, complainant’s information may be required by a Court.                         

Defamation Notice

Persons making a planning enforcement complaint should be aware that comments involving allegations of any kind against a named or otherwise identifiable person or organisation may be viewed as defamatory by the subject of the comments. Persons may be sued directly for any defamatory allegations in any complaint and should avoid making such allegations. In the event of any potentially defamatory allegation giving rise to legal action against it, the Planning Authority may seek indemnity from the person making the allegation.