Enforcement time limit halved in Northern Ireland

Changes to planning rules in Northern Ireland that cut the time limit for enforcement action against unpermitted residential development from 10 years to five have come into effect.

The changes are intended to standardise the approach to enforcement across the residential and commercial sectors.

Until now, the time limit for enforcement action against unauthorised commercial development was four years compared to 10 for residential. A five year time limit will now apply to both types of development.

A statement from the Department of Environment said: "The new provisions should result in a more efficient system of control, less confusion and greater clarity in dealing with breaches of planning control."

The rules came into effect on December 1.

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