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Inspector careers

A career that offers flexibility, challenge, independence, professionalism and great variety

What is it like to be a planning inspector?

Join Rekha as she talks about what it’s like to be an Inspector, and the day to day jobs, rewards and impact Planning Inspectors have on the places we live.

The role of inspectors

Inspectors are examiners and decision makers of a large variety of planning and environmental matters. They act on behalf of the Secretary of State in decisions and recommendations on planning appeals and many other types of casework. Inspectors work across 3 broad areas based on their experience and skillset:

Areas of work


Inspectors ensure a fair planning system by deciding around 20,000 appeals a year ranging from household extensions, tree preservation orders, enforcement notices, up to large housing or commercial developments.


Supporting communities to shape where they live, inspectors examine local plans prepared by local planning authorities. These provide the framework for addressing social, economic and environmental priorities.


Inspectors examine applications for significant infrastructure and environment projects. They include schemes such as offshore windfarms, new transport provision, water and waste water treatment, upgrading ports, and reviewing access to land, water resources management and power network plans.

A photo of Ahsan Ghafoor who is the Inspector and Professional Lead for Enforcement

“Planning is a crucial function at local and national level. Our work helps shape a better built and natural environment. It helps focus minds on important issues like housing need and climate change.”

Ahsan Ghafoor
Inspector and Professional Lead for Enforcement

An inspector speaking to a local planning hearing

Did you know…?

Not all inspectors are town planners. We recruit from engineering, architecture, built heritage, environmental sciences, landscape architecture and law

Aerial view of a large Solar Farm.

Day in the life of an inspector

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an Infrastructure Inspector at the Planning Inspectorate?

Two of our inspectors, Menaka and Jason, shed light on the exciting challenges and responsibilities that come with this role.

What does it take to be an inspector?

You need to have a full or chartered membership of a relevant professional body (such as RTPI, IEMA or RICS – see our candidate packs for the full list).

Inspectors can work independently and as part of a team. You need to be self-confident and self-reliant, with the ability to make independent decisions, to work alone and to travel widely across England and sometimes Wales.

You will also interact regularly with the public, planning professionals and your colleagues.

John’s story

What is it like to be an inspector?

Hear from John as he talks about his role both as an inspector manager as well as his work in the field.

You will need the ability to:

  • • Analyse and recall large amounts of information, evidence and argument
  • • Write clearly, accurately and concisely in order to reach logical, convincing, well-reasoned and evidence-based conclusions
  • • Conduct fair and inclusive public events, with authority, involving those holding conflicting views about development proposals
  • • Interact sensitively and empathetically with a diverse range of people
  • • Manage time effectively to ensure decisions are issued within expected timescales
  • • Use digital tools to support your work

Career Progression

Whether you are a graduate planner starting out in your career or an experienced professional seeking the next challenge, we may have a position to suit you! Our people receive regular training that unlocks a fulfilling professional career.

Inspector Bands

Inspectors are categorised into different bands based on their experience, skills, and the complexity of the tasks they handle. Here’s a brief overview of our inspector bands and what each one entails:

Band 1

Band 1 inspectors start with us handling a wide-range of written representation casework. Through a programme of training, they learn the skills to conduct hearings and gradually transition to more complex cases. They may assist on higher level projects.

Band 2

Band 2 inspectors have gained significant experience either at band 1 level or in a role outside the Inspectorate. At this level, inspectors will undertake a wide range of casework with more complex issues and will conduct public inquiries. As a band 2 inspector, you may be assigned to undertake examinations for local plans or significant infrastructure and environmental projects.

Band 3

Band 3 inspectors undertake the most complex casework across appeals, local plan examinations, specialist casework, and nationally significant infrastructure projects. Significant experience of analysing large amounts of a wide range of technical evidence is required as well as experience of project leadership.

We also employ inspectors for important leadership roles such as inspector managers, inspector trainers, appeal planning officer managers, operation leads and professional leads. There are also secondment opportunities within government to assist on special projects.

Find out more about what it’s like to work for the Planning Inspectorate

Look on Civil Service Jobs
for all our Planning Inspectorate career opportunities

Hear from our staff as they share insight, reflection and experience