Who has the Power?

It can be disruptive when utility companies require access to your land, Lucy Carnell suggests how to prepare for negotiations

Who has the Power?

For landowners and occupiers to have pipelines, cables and infrastructure sited on or crossing their land is fairly commonplace.  This may be in a garden, a field or even on an entire farm holding.  The infrastructure is owned by utility companies, providing their services to the entire population of the country.   With an ever-growing population and increase in residential developments across the country, combined with an aging existing infrastructure, repair works and upgrades to that infrastructure are required to maintain supplies. 

The utility companies can take access to install, repair or upgrade the infrastructure in various ways.  In most cases, they will serve notice of their intentions, in the first instance hoping to come to a mutual agreement with the landowner.  There are various pieces of legislation which can be used as fall back, the most commonplace being the Electricity Act 1989, Water Industry Act 1991 and Gas Act 1986.  These acts and powers are used to varying degrees depending on the scheme in place, and there are certain criteria and timescales that must be adhered to in order for the notices to be valid. 

Receiving notice that a utility company intends to take access onto your land can be daunting, frustrating and inconvenient, particularly if you have just drilled a crop or if weather conditions are unfavourable. However, utility companies are obliged to pay compensation for your losses sustained in accordance with the legislation that governs their industry.

Symonds & Sampson’s experienced agents have a comprehensive understanding of the legislation, property market and agricultural sectors, and are therefore well-placed to assist you with negotiations.  Whether this is negotiation with the utility company from the outset, agreeing access, investigation and accommodation works, or dealing with the resulting compensation claim for land take, crop loss, severance, injurious affection and disturbance, we are here to help.  It’s also worth noting that the claimant will be compensated for or professional fees for the work involved.  

So, if you receive notification of intention to access your land, please do get in touch with Lucy Carnell at our Yeovil Office, on 01935 423526, or your local Symonds & Sampson rural agents for advice you can trust.


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