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Are you Getting the Electricity Wayleave Compensation you are Entitled to?

H&H Land and Property, over the past couple of months, have found that there have been issues with incorrect documentation with electricity wayleave agreements.

David Quayle, Director at H&H Land and Property says: “It is always worthwhile checking your agreement, often apparatus has been changed over the years, and documentation has not always followed. It may be the case that you are not getting the full compensation to which you are entitled.”

David Quayle

David Quayle

The electricity networks in England and Wales are governed by the Electricity Act 1989 (as amended by the Utilities Act 2000) to develop and maintain an efficient, co-ordinated and economical system of electricity distribution and transmission.

Although private companies, theirs is a “public service role”. The legislation gives the operators the requisite power to comply with their statutory duties and obligations.

David comments: “Electricity companies need permission to install their apparatus on private land. Usually they do this by negotiating an agreement called a ‘voluntary wayleave’. In theory, this can only be enforced against a particular owner but there are very serious ramifications in entering into this type of agreement which, at first sight, seems to be capable of being terminated.

“It is essential for you to take specialist advice if you are asked to enter into this type of arrangement.”

Once installed this apparatus puts an obligation on the owners and occupiers under health & safety legislation. If the apparatus is installed in and around the farm yard, it can be very difficult to develop and extend existing buildings with apparatus in place.

If you want to terminate this so-called ‘voluntary’ agreement you need to serve notice on an electricity company to terminate and remove their equipment. In those circumstances the electricity company can make a compulsory purchase order or, more likely, an application to the Secretary of State for a ‘necessary wayleave’.

Electricity companies may also obtain a Voluntary Easement; this is a permanent right, which runs with the land. Over the years Parliament has adopted a very simple principle. Where, for the general good of the country, rights are required across private land then powers have been conferred in various organisations to give them requisite powers.

As it is a permanent right, compensation for the wayleave is significantly higher than the annual payment received for an easement.

There is a myth regarding compensation for wayleave payments. The electricity industry and farming bodies produce a recommended annual payment. This ‘national voluntary agreement’ does not commit anybody to anything. You are free to negotiate your own terms reflecting your own particular circumstances.

David says: “In our view there is no substitution for professional advice, and would urge all landowners with electricity apparatus on their land to seek specialist advice. We have years of experience in dealing with these matters and dealing with various electricity companies on a daily basis.”

HH Land

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