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Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Rights of entry for enforcement purposes

Rights to enter without warrant

176.—(1) Any person duly authorised in writing by a council may at any reasonable time enter any land—

(a)to ascertain whether there is or has been any breach of planning control on the land or any other land;

(b)to ascertain whether an offence has been, or is being, committed with respect to any building on the land or any other land, under section 85, section 85 as applied by section 105(6), section 103 or 147 or section 147, as applied by section 157(6);

(c)to ascertain whether an offence has been committed under section 117, 126 or 127;

(d)for the purpose of exercising any of the functions conferred by section 161;

(e)to determine whether any of the powers conferred on the council by this Part should be exercised in relation to the land or any other land;

(f)to determine how any such power should be exercised in relation to the land or any other land;

(g)to ascertain whether there has been compliance with any requirement imposed as a result of any such power having been exercised in relation to the land or any other land,

if there are reasonable grounds for entering for the purpose in question.

(2) Any person duly authorised in writing by the Department may at any reasonable hour enter any land to determine whether an enforcement notice, a stop notice or a listed building enforcement notice should be issued in relation to the land or any other land, if there are reasonable grounds for entering for that purpose.

(3) The Department must not so authorise any person without consulting the council.

(4) Admission to any building used as a dwelling-house shall not be demanded as of right by virtue of subsection (1) or (2) unless 24 hours’ notice of the intended entry has been given to the occupier of the building.

Right to enter under warrant

177.—(1) If it is shown to the satisfaction of a lay magistrate on a complaint on oath—

(a)that there are reasonable grounds for entering any land for any of the purposes mentioned in section 176(1) or (2); and

(b)that—

(i)admission to the land has been refused, or a refusal is reasonably apprehended; or

(ii)the case is one of urgency,

the lay magistrate may issue a warrant authorising any person duly authorised in writing by the council or, as the case may be, the Department to enter the land.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b)(i) admission to land shall be regarded as having been refused if no reply is received to a request for admission within a reasonable period.

(3) A warrant authorises entry on one occasion only and that entry must be—

(a)within one month from the date of the issue of the warrant; and

(b)at a reasonable time, unless the case is one of urgency.

Rights of entry: supplementary provisions

178.—(1) A person authorised to enter any land in pursuance of a right of entry conferred under or by virtue of section 176 or 177 (referred to in this section as “a right of entry”)—

(a)must, if so required, produce evidence of his or her authority and state the purpose of entry before so entering;

(b)may be accompanied by such other persons as may be necessary; and

(c)on leaving the land must, if the owner or occupier is not then present, leave it as effectively secured against trespassers as that person found it.

(2) Any person who wilfully obstructs a person acting in the exercise of a right of entry shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(3) If any damage is caused to property in the exercise of a right of entry, compensation may be recovered by any person suffering the damage from the council or, as the case may be, the Department.

(4) Any question of disputed compensation recoverable under subsection (3) shall be determined by the Lands Tribunal.

(5) If any person who enters any land, in exercise of a right of entry, discloses to any person any information obtained by that person while on the land as to any manufacturing process or trade secret, that person shall be guilty of an offence.

(6) Subsection (5) does not apply if the disclosure is made by a person in the course of performing a duty in connection with the purpose for which that person was authorised to enter the land.

(7) A person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (5) shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum;

(b)on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine, or both.

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