Your rights to inspect local records

Do you know your rights when it comes to inspecting local authority records? Most people in the UK do not.

Local authorities are required by section 8 of the Local Land Charges Act 1975 to allow any person to search in the Local Land Charges Register on payment of the prescribed fee, currently £11.00 per parcel of land.

In addition, any person is entitled by law to inspect free of charge any records open for public inspection held by local authorities. Such records include the planning register and the register of enforcement notices, stop notices and breach of condition notices (sections 69 and 188 of Town and Country Planning Act 1990).

Some other open public records that may be of interest:

  • maps of public sewers (sections 199 and 200 of Water Industry Act 1991);
  • publicly adopted highways (section 36(7) of the Highways Act 1980);
  • conservation areas (Town and Country Amenities Act 1974);
  • local common land and town and village greens (section 3(1) and (2) of Commons
    Registration Act 1965);
  • hazardous substances consents (section 28 of Planning (Hazardous Substances)
    Act 1990);
  • litter control areas and street litter control notices (section 95 of Environmental
    Protection Act 1990);
  • noise abatement zones (Control of Pollution Act 1974; The Control of Noise (Measurement and Registers) Regulations 1976, SI No 37);
  • public rights of way (section 57(5) of Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981);
  • tree preservation orders (Article 4(2) of the Model Order in the Town and Country
    Planning (Tree Preservation Order) Regulations 1969; section 214 of Town and
    Country Planning Act 1990;
  • DOE Circular 36/78 “Trees and Forestry” and Welsh Office Circular 64/78); and
  • contaminated land (section 78 of Environmental Protection Act 1990).

The Department of Communities and Local Government has produced a booklet explaining people’s rights and promoting¬†good practice and working relations between local authority staff and personal searchers of the Local Land Charges Register and other local authority records open to public inspection. It is worth having a look so you know what sort of reception you should expect.

One Response to “Your rights to inspect local records”

  1. andrew butterworth says:


    Please could you confirm who is responsible for maintaining the
    Enforcement Notice Register under and in accordance with section
    188 Town and Country Planning Act 1990. I am aware District
    Councils maintain registers but does a ‘County Council’ as a
    Planning Authority also require to maintain a register of
    Notices it has served ? Please can you respond as soon as
    possible to this question.

    Kind Regards


    ps; the relevant section mentions only Districts, Metropolitan
    and London.

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